In furtherance of its efforts to effectively employ scientific approaches to crime fighting, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has commissioned the newly remodelled and equipped Forensic Crime Laboratory at the 057 Provost Investigation Group (057 PIG) Ikeja, Lagos.
The event, which took place on Monday, also witnessed the commissioning of a newly constructed Headquarters Building for 057 PIG, which is aimed at ensuring a conducive environment for the NAF Directorate of Air Provost to effectively and efficiently carry out criminal investigations as well as train its personnel.
Speaking during the commissioning, the Guest of Honour, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, lauded the efforts of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in providing a befitting and functional environment whilst making inroads in the application of forensics in policing.
According to him, the reactivation of the Lab is a testimony of the NAF leadership’s commitment to push the boundaries and improve on the methodologies and technological platforms to detect and analyse evidence of crime in the Service.
He remarked that the effectiveness of the facility could, with time, become a force multiplier with regards to raising and maintaining the morale of airmen which would, in turn, enhance operational capability.
While urging the beneficiaries of the facility to exploit its potential to the maximum, Mr Idris commended the CAS for the unprecedented achievements recorded in the area of capacity building in the NAF as well as for playing a pivotal role in bringing normalcy to troubled areas of the country.
While making his remarks, the CAS noted that the rapid growth of technology has led to an increase in the rate and extent of crimes. He observed that, following the expansion of the NAF Force Structure, it became obvious that the Service required a law enforcement arm with the capacity to effectively employ scientific approaches in all facets of its critical competencies, in order to enhance security and discipline in the Service.
He stated that it was in fulfilment of this requirement that the new PIG Headquarters Building and NAF Forensic Crime Lab were being commissioned. Air Marshal Abubakar said, that as a prerequisite to provision of the Lab, the NAF had embarked on the conduct of various specialists training for the personnel to man the Group.
In this regard, the NAF, in conjunction with foreign partners from the United Kingdom (UK), had trained 16 Provost personnel in the Core Investigative Skills and Interview Techniques, while another set of 16 personnel would be concluding the Crime Scene Investigation Course by the end of the week. It is noteworthy that the last time such training was conducted in the NAF was about 30 years ago.
The CAS further disclosed that the investigative capacity of the Provost would be further enhanced through the training of 10 Provost Officers in the Advanced Detective Course at the Police Staff College Jos before the end of the year.
He mentioned that the NAF was also expanding and enhancing its utilization of Military Working Dogs to boost physical security of critical NAF Bases as well as for integration into the conduct of Combat Search and Rescue operations.
“In the same vein, 140 Air Provost personnel would soon commence the Force Protection in Complex Air Ground Environment training, in conjunction with the British Military Advisory Training Team. Furthermore, the rejuvenation of the Air Provost’s Explosive Ordnance Detection capability is projected to commence by the end of this year”, Air Marshal Abubakar added.
The CAS also seized the opportunity to thank the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his leadership and determination in providing the enabling environment for the NAF to thrive, while also expressing the gratitude of the Service to the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on the Air Force, for their commitment in appropriating the resources to enable the NAF effectively perform its constitutional roles.
The CAS equally congratulated the NAF Logistics Branch for undertaking the work by Direct Labour. Air Marshal Abubakar ended by charging all Air Provost personnel to develop a strategic foresight founded on innovation, flexibility, willingness to collaborate with other security agencies as well as objectivity and fairness, in order to successfully meet the demands of contemporary policing.
Earlier in his address, the Commander 057 PIG, Group Captain Garuba Bello, stated that the Forensic Lab would significantly assist Air Provost Investigators in obtaining credible evidence for successful prosecution of cases in a court of law while also adding to the country’s crime fighting resources.
One of the highlights of the event was the simulation of a Crime Scene Investigation, conducted by resource persons from Sustainable Criminal Justice Solutions UK and NAF personnel, to demonstrate the intricate process involved in evidence collection/capturing as well as the importance of ensuring effective control at a crime scene.