The Inspector- General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, on Thursday laid the foundation of a N77 million forensic police laboratory, with a promise to rehabilitate existing barracks nationwide.
Represented by the Deputy Inspector- General in-charge of 'C' Department, Mr Emmanuel Udeoji, the I-G said that the facility would carter for the modern investigation needs of the force.
Abubakar said that the police management team had resolved to breathe life into all police formations across the country and improve the welfare of personnel.
He expressed appreciation to the stakeholders' forum, made up of members of diplomatic corps and wealthy Nigerians, for coming up with the idea for the construction of the laboratory.
"It takes men of great character to put the idea of constructing the building with the calibre of officers and men who are running this unit and whose qualities we have all attested to; this cause will not be in vain," the I-G said.
Mr Olatunde Ogunsakin, the Commissioner of Police SFU, noted that the unit had contributed to the creation of departments of economic governance, diplomatic fraud and human rights sections that had yielded more than was invested.
Ogunsakin stated that the construction of the laboratory was to ensure that the force met up with the much needed scientific analyses at a time when the Federal Government was implementing the 100 per cent cashless transaction policy.
"The foundation laying of Ibrahim Coomasie building is an additional feather to SFU- currently with 35 offices- to enable staff discharge their duties to combat fraud related offences in order to meet with international standards," he said.
The commissioner also disclosed that the project would usher in a modern structure, accommodation facilities for internal personnel training, archive, clinic, modern interrogation room, as well as administrative office.
However, the chairman of the stakeholders forum, Prof. Adedokun Adeyemi, charged the police authority to ensure that equipment for the forensic investigation was on ground before the completion of the project.
Adeyemi, a professor of law and criminology at the University of Lagos, noted that the non-availability of equipment was what worked against the reconstruction of the police forensic laboratory at Alagbon Close, which got burnt years back.
According to him, since then the police has no forensic laboratory to cater for its needs, thus compelling it to take sensitive cases abroad for forensic analyses.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the laboratory, situated at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, was named after a former I-G, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie.
Meanwhile, the unit had between Oct. last year and Jan. 31 prosecuted 229 cases and recovered N1.5 billion and $270,000 from suspected fraudsters.
The unit said the crimes were committed through banking fraud, fraudulent conversion, issuance of dud cheques, forgery, theft and conspiracy.