The science of forensics, is yet to take root in Nigeria; yet crime has not only gone hi-tech, but sophisticated and organised. If the Nigerian police force is to break grounds and push its boundaries of investigation, it must develop expertise in forensics. There seem to be no concerted effort by government to develop this line of technique in crime investigation, despite the obvious good it will do to accused persons, and those innocently and wrongfully convicted.
Since the 201o visit from the US by police detective Charles Massucci and Anthropology Professor Erin Kimmerle, it is uncertain how far and how seriously the Nigerian authorities have viewed their work to teach forensic science; and make it part of police training and investigation technique. It is suggested here that given the rate of extra-judicial killings and unresolved high profile crimes – like murder and kidnapping – in Nigeria, it is imperative that, the Nigerian Police College review its curriculum, with a view to making the study of forensic science mandatory for all police officer going through training.
As Prof. Kimmerle observed then (the situation has since deteriorated) ‘In the past two years, there have been more than 1,000 extra-judicial killings of suspects, innocent civilians, multinational oil workers and politicians, by the police, the military forces, vigilante groups and armed militants in various parts of Nigeria. All of judicial reform is based on forensic sciences. What good is law if you cannot enforce it’ Read report of their 2010 tour of Nigeria here.
Going forward, Nigeria seriously need to reform its police force, the prison system and the judiciary to bring it in line with internationally acceptable standard. The National Human Rights Commission and other oversight agencies of government, must play leading roles in ensuring this comes to fruition.