Experts decry quackery in forensic profession

Forensic experts on Friday in Lagos decried the high rate of quackery in the forensic profession in the country.

The experts, who spoke during a biennial conference on forensics, urged practitioners to adopt best practice on forensic investigation in order to curb the trend.

The three-day conference organised by International Institute of Certified Forensic Investigation Professionals (IICFIP) and International Academy of Forensic (IAF) was with the theme: “Re-thinking Quality Assurance Practices in the Forensic Profession”.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Abdurasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) called for new approach to investigation in a changing landscape where crime is driven by advancement in technology.

Bawa said that law enforcement authorities and forensics must also continuously innovate ways to identify criminal trends to stop criminals on their tracks.

“Investigations should not only be lead but must also be science based as practitionals’ approaches to investigation had left much to be desired.

“This is where Forensic investigation comes in and as EFCC, we recognise it right from the inception of the commission by creating Forensic unit,” Bawa said.

Bawa was represented by Mr Benedict Agweye, EFCC Director of Forensic and Crime Lab services.

He said that the world has moved from traditional approach investigation to science based and intelligent lead approach to investigation.

He stressed that forensic service should be encouraged to adopt and comply with the minimum requirement as prescribed by the ISO 17025 of 2017 standard, whose benefit is to institutionalise services offering by forensic.

He said professionals must ensure that the product of forensic investigations are acceptable and can be relied upon not only by courts in Nigeria but all around the world.

This is to foster relationship between government, private sector practice and international package in addition to digital transformation.

He said the accreditation will help reduce the turnaround time for case work, fastracking investigation, while ensuring accuracy, reliability, consistency and universal acceptability from forensic investigation.

Earlier, the Patron of IICFIP, Dr Malami Shehu. who declared the conference open, said the conference would allow professionals to exchange ideas about the latest development in forensic investigation.

Represented by Prof. Mohammed Kuta, the patron urged stakeholders to be consistent in human capacity development for update on new techniques and keep abreast of global best practices.

“We learn about new development in terms of technology deployment and laboratory issues that is well certified in line with global practice.

“Forensic is the only way to go in achieving facts and we must imbibe quality assurance in our conduct in forensic experts.

“That can help in our investigation and dispensation of justice would be done without any fear of contradiction,” the patron said.

Also speaking, Dr Damilola Fagboro, Global Council Representative of National Institute of Certified Forensic Professionals in Nigeria (NICFPN), said that the profession is at its infancy state in most part of Africa and not regulated.

Fagboro, who is also the Director, IAF, said most people calling themselves practitionals didn’t have the basic requirements, training, orientation and the skills to function in the enterprise of the profession.

“We have seen overtime that the end result of every forensic investigation is to assist in establishing fact that transpire in an event.

“When an investigator submits a report that is not properly verified, the judiciary may be mislead.

“In that case, Nigeria can not continue like that because there is going to be problem which was the reason for the theme,” he said.

The Commandant General, NIgeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Dr Ahmed Audi, said there is no organisation that can survive without input from forensic experts.

The commandant said that practical experience was required, especially now, to bring forensic reasoning to cure corruption at the level of psycho therapy.

The NSCDC commandant was represented by Dr Tensir Shaapera, NSCDC Head of Forensic Unit, Abuja.

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