By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Monsuru Olowoopejo
THE Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem last week disclosed how the state government planned to eradicate crime in the state in a novel way through many innovations embarked upon by the state. Chiefly among them is the establishment of the Lagos Crime Data Register, State DNA and Forensic Center and establishment of the Special Offences and Sexual Crimes Court among others.
Speaking at the 2018 ministerial press briefing held in Ikeja, the Attorney-General disclosed that over 8,000 criminals have been captured in the crime data register, aimed at aiding justice delivery in Lagos.
According to the government, the register has helped in monitoring cases between the state’s Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Police and the Prisons Service.
To improve the state of the register, Mr. Kazeem hinted that the crime data register was reviewed earlier in the year and renamed as Lagos Criminal Information System, LCIS.
Kazeem, who stressed that the register was provided to help achieve law enforcement in the state, noted that: “the Lagos Criminal Information System, LCIS also known as Criminal Case Tracking System, was initiated earlier in the year by the Ministry of Justice as a crime data register that serves as a repository of biometric data of persons who have been in contact with the Criminal Justice System.
“There are over 8,000 inmates currently being captured in the LCIS database in the Prison, Police and within the Criminal Justice Administration Sector and this include their personal, physical and bio-metric details.”
To ensure adequate and effective data gathering, the commissioner noted that the state government handed over to the Nigeria Police, Lagos Command over 750,000 criminal suspect forms. Kazeem said the action was to ease justice delivery and aid in quick record keeping of criminals in the state and to ease criminal investigation. He disclosed that Lagos State DNA and Forensic Center, LSD&FC, has intensified its services to support the Nigeria Police, lawyers and Domestic, Sexual Violence Response Teams, DSVRT. “Since its commissioning in September 2017, a total of 316 inquiries have been received.
Of this statistics, over 71 active cases bordering on homicide, rape, toxicology, child trafficking, serology amongst others, were still being investigated.
“As part of the LSD&FC program, the Lagos State DNA Database, LSDD and the Lagos State DNA Index System, LSDIS, have been established. This database will allow the curation and storage of authorised DNA profiles for use in fighting crime and criminal investigations. To ensure that LSD&FC is appreciated and fully leveraged by all stakeholders, specialised enlightenment and training programs have been organised for judges, police, lawyers and emergency responders,” the Attorney-General added. He equally disclosed that government has received and treated a total number of 11,451 cases through the Special Task Force Against Land Grabbers, Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, DSVRT and the Special Offences (Mobile) Court in the last one year. Kazeem said the state government received also 316 inquiries through the recently launched first state-owned DNA and Forensic Centre with 71 active cases currently ongoing bordering on homicide, rape, toxicology, child trafficking, serology, among others.
According to Kazeem, the Anti-Land Grabbers Task Force designed by the present administration to fight the menace of forceful take-over of properties received 1,300 petitions out of which 855 were concluded and 530 currently at various stages of resolution.
“In the period under review, over 35 arrests of suspected notorious land grabbers were effected while 26 criminal prosecution cases against suspected land grabbers are presently ongoing,” the Attorney-General said. Besides, the Attorney-General said in a bid to enhance due diligence in property transaction, the State Government introduced the Real Estate Electronic Litigation Database designed for the provision of access to information primarily on properties which are subject of litigation.
He added that since its launch, the portal has recorded over 1,000,000 hits and over 10,000 consistent users from Nigeria, the US, UK, South Africa and others.
Meanwhile,Kazeem lamented that rather than experience reduction in number of residents violating environmental and transportation laws, it had continuously increased. “In comparison with the previous year’s figure of 4,426 offenders, who were arraigned before Special Offences (Mobile) Court, 8,380 offenders were arraigned before the court in the year under review for offences under the Road Traffic Laws which include parking on walkway and yellow lines, use of BRT corridor, commuters and conductors hanging on the tailboard of moving vehicle, driving against traffic etc.”
Worried by this trend, he hinted that the state government through the court in the year under review intensified public enlightenment on need to observe simple societal norms which had been codified. While the criminal and environmental cases were fast-tracked to reduce trauma time spent by victims, he stressed that the restorative justice measure adopted by the state government has prevented residents with minor offences from being sentenced. Kazeem noted that the state government through its Community Service Unit, adopted rehabilitation and restoration of the offender as guiding principles for imposing punishment.
“The Community Service Officers attend court hearings and recommend community service-based sentences to Magistrates for suitable minor offenders, including environmental offences. In addition, the Community Service Field Officers, supervise the offenders ordered to perform community service at suitable Work Placement Centers. “In the period under review, a total number of 2,249 offenders were sentenced to community service for various offences.
The sentences were served at various public institutions including Hospitals, Remand Homes, Traffic Management and Market sanitation.”