A bill seeking to establish Lagos State Deoxyribo-Nucleic Acid (DNA) and Forensic Centre to support criminal investigations, law enforcement, preservation of evidence for the judicial system, and for other connected purposes, has been passed by Lagos state assembly.
The bill which was adopted at an earlier sitting presided over by Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, was passed by the House after it scaled the third reading at plenary on Monday September 5, with all lawmakers in attendance and giving their approval.
The centre which would use and regulate DNA-based technology in Lagos State to carry out profiling or analysis, will also “carry out other forensic disciplines including, toxicology, drug chemistry, fingerprint examination, firearms examination, tool mark examination, ballistics, trace evidence analysis, questioned document examination and digital forensics to obtain evidence relevant to the investigation of criminal offences.”
The bill added that the centre would;
“Provide for the use of DNA profiles in the investigation of crime and the use of such profiles in proving the innocence or guilt of persons.
“Provide for the conditions under which the samples for DNA profiles may be retained or destroyed.
“Establish a DNA database and a DNA Index System in the State as well as establish a DNA bank for storage of reference DNA samples.”
Asides giving powers to the centre to take specified bodily samples from certain categories of persons for the purposes of DNA analysis; collect, examine, document and preserve evidence which can later be used in the identification of offenders amongst others, the bill also allows the centre to decode family ties and relationships of individuals to establish an identity as well as the identification of abandoned or disputed children and other related issues.
It is further expected the centre would recommend methods for optimum use of DNA techniques and technologies for the administration of justice.