ON Tuesday, December 9, 2014 the conference room adjacent to the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 5 Police Command, Benin, AIG Musa Daura, was filled to capacity as he hosted the team of members of the Forensic Research and Documentaation Centre, UNIBEN, Comprising technocrats in various aspects of science and the humanities, including medical/laboratory scientist, including human rights activists, lawyers, social workers, members of the civil society and a section of the media to an end of the year meeting with his own team of top police officer in charge of Operations, DCP Dave Akinremi, Administration CSP Mukhtar, Investigation, S.P. Earnest Okoro, Intelligence and others, the stage was set for the end of the year meeting of the Forensic Group.
In his address, the co-ordinator of the group, Dr. Eddy Ehikhamenor, intimated the gathering of the essence of the end of year meeting in the AIG office, saying that the need arose for the Forensic Research Group to expand the scope and out look of the group by working in tandem with other stakeholders and interest groups, including partners whose contribution in the field of Forensic Research and Documentation are invaluable, hence the hosting by the police which is, by all standards, a key partner in the actualization of  the equally key element of forensic research, which is investigations.
Dr. Ehikhamenor thanked the AIG and men and officers of the Edo State Police Command for the co-operation which the group has enjoyed from the police and sued the security entity for its sustenance.
“Without integrating the Police in Forensic Research, our effort will be an exercise in futility,” says Dr. Ehikhamenor, as he equally sensitized the police authority on the efforts so far made by the group, particularly in unraveling paternity puzzles through the Deoxyribo-Nucleic Acid (DNA) testing and the intention to delve into Forensic Research sampling in aiding the determination of crime cases, which, according to him, would put to rest age-long puzzles regarding who committed what crime both in homicide and rape cases.
The FODEC boss, speaking on behalf of members of the group, expressed the desire of the team that the relationship, networking between the Forensic Group and the Police would be sustained for four key reason.
One, to maintain the synergy and momentum for a better working relation, two, to start off a network for training of its members, three, to ensure that in no distant time, Nigeria would boast of having as part of her experts, a trained, certified Forensic Document Examiner and four, to ensure that the slogan, “Police is your friend” is indeed a reality in the pursuit of a common goal and in the sustenance of the relationship.
Adding climax to his opening remarks, Dr. Ehikhamenor made a few salient requests to the AIG, which included the need to develop a certificate of partnership with the police, as memento, or a status symbol of show for posterity the relationship between the Forensic Group and the police, that trained and certified members of the Forensic Group be given part time consulting jobs in Police Training College with basic honorarium, housing and transport as incentives; to initiate a Forensic Data Bank as a pilot programme and feed information regarding forensic research which would be gleaned from various units, including from the police investigation unit, and feed them into the Forensic Data Bank of the FODEC; to nominate officers of the Nigeria Police Force and include them for training with Foreign partners, that the Forensic Group be given assess to culprits in the course of its investigations, particularly in the cases of rape where semen analysis may be required; that modalities should be worked out for the ‘subsidization’ of the financial cost, in terms of logistics and others, in pursuing  cases to a reasonable conclusion, even as he thanked the AIG for the true essence of the free bail system or culture in the Nigeria Police Force. Dr. Eddy Ehikhamenor also requested the integrity of forensic discipline in the Police Training Courses.
The AIG Musa A. Daura, has been described as a trainer par excellence himself and a fine police officer, having manned several police commands, including Ogun, Nasarawa and Enugu, also holding forte in Zone 6 which comprises, Rivers, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers States before his transfer to man Zone 5 under which are Edo, Delta and Bayelsa States.
Responding, he welcomed the team in his office amidst cheers and expressed his joy for having been called to host the meeting.
“I have no doubt in my mind, considering the introductions, that people from diverse backgrounds are here to form the group.
Your team can compete with any group, not only in Nigeria but throughout the world.
Forensic Research helps the Police immensely in its investigations. So many cases that would have hitherto taken the Police many years to unravel but with Forensic Research it becomes easy. We therefore need to partner with the group. Analysis by experts helps in prosecution. As you have your team, so do I (this evoked cheerful laughter) and so we will look at the requests one by one. I am happy that two members of the police have been co-opted in the Forensic Research Group. We are grateful because these men would be groomed to groom others too. I wish that this meeting will be held here often, even if it is on monthly basis. This dialogue means a lot.  An applause followed the AIG’s happy remarks and then the second segment of the meeting, the dialogue began.
On the role of the police in determining rape cases, treating them with levity and allegedly not helping human rights activists in expediting actions to enable victims get justice, the AIG responded that the issue of rape is a very sensitive one and appreciated the fact that it was being raised at the meeting. He stated that many of the victims of rape take time to report the incidence to the police and that in rape cases, time is of the essence. He noted that the delay helps the distortion  of vital ingredients.
“Families don’t like reporting rape cases. Rape is a peculiar case because of the way society regards it.
The society regards it as taboo, and indeed it is not acceptable by any morally standards, but victims should not be stigmatized by it. That is why people, both victims and their families keep mute about it. The publicity could be regarded as negative, therefore, shielding or protecting the identity of their children or wards becomes important to families. Some even withdraw the case as soon as it is initiated. Police is in dilemma at that point. You can’t stop people from withdrawing their case, but there are cases we use our own discretion to hold on to, that is the defilement of minors. We are not experts in Forensic Research, so we send the matter to Lagos for determination at the labs. We are not magicians either, so we need the co-operation of everyone to properly discharge our duties. We beg people to report promptly.
In the commentaries, it was said by a legal expert that the attitude of the Police could be blamed on the old Evidence Act which gave the Police the opportunity to conduct themselves in such a way as to suggesting handling matters with levity-asking questions that appeared to violate moral sanctity and intrude on the victims privacy. She however noted that the New Evidence Act 2004 stopped the connotation of harassment by the police by removing the Section which authorized such interrogations. She enjoined the police to continue to ‘wear a human face’ in the investigation of injustice against women and the girl-child, particularly rape and other forms of violence, stating that “we are all ministers in the temple of justice.” She also enjoined victims to speak out promptly.
On the issue of open display by cultists, openly shooting guns without interception, open threats and boldness by kidnappers whereby victims are written, and told when they would be kidnapped and the kidnappers make do their promises without police intervention, gun-shot wound and request by doctors for letter the AIG responded that doctors have been advised to treats innocent gun-shot victims and subsequently report to the police. He noted that kidnapping on its part takes place with the knowledge of an insider – drivers, cook, gardener, laundry man, even spouses, recalling a case where a woman feigned her own kidnap just to extort money from her own husband.
“In that case, what can the police do to stop such act? Not much, because of the presence of a die-hard insider. I also want to use this medium to tell people to be nice to their staff – the cook, the gardener, the male or maidservant. There could be an error of omission or commission, something you did or refused to do and kidnapping becomes an avenue to exact that thing. The wealthy especially, should take care of their servants.” Says the AIG.
He also pointed out that unemployment, pressure of peer groups, greed, avarice, and above all, the disgruntlement of the insider, are main causes of kidnap in the society and appealed for both government and private individuals to rise up to the occasion to provide jobs, industrialize the nation and positively engaged the youths themselves to reduce crime rate in Nigeria.
Dr. Eddy Ehikhamenor also informed the AIG that the Bio-Data Bank that the FODEC hopes to open soon will get thumb prints of criminals who are already in police bad records to help future investigations. The main meeting on FODEC commenced amidst refreshment.

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