NDLEA Unveils Newly Upgraded Forensic Lab

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has unveiled its newly upgraded forensic laboratory in Lagos.
Speaking at the ceremony on Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, stressed the significant impact of the upgrade, sponsored by the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), on the agency’s fight against drug abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.
He said, “With this facility, we are now anticipating the provision of state-of-the-art analytical equipment, which will enhance optimal performance in line with standard operational laboratory procedures and best practices, which in turn will enhance evidence-based analytical processes in our forensic analysis.”
The project was facilitated by INL and implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The NDLEA boss, who was represented at the event by the agency’s director of media and advocacy, Femi Babafemi, noted the importance of modern forensic laboratories to the successful fight against illicit drugs in the country.
He said, “Everyone who knows how pivotal a forensic laboratory is to drug investigations will share my sentiment. The forensic laboratory plays a critical role in the identification of drug exhibits, in the investigation of illicit drug manufacturing and the dismantling of clandestine laboratories. Ultimately, it reinforces the criminal justice system.
“Given the current situation of illicit drugs in Nigeria, a forensic laboratory is sine qua non for any meaningful effort to stymie the problem. The reason is obvious. In three decades, Nigeria has grown from a transit country to a country that produces a farrago of new psychoactive substances, NPS, and a place where there is proliferation of clandestine laboratories, of which we have discovered and dismantled over 23.
“Over the last three years that I have been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, there have been seizures of record quantities of illicit drugs, approximately 7, 590 tons. What is remarkable about these seizures is that they include not only substances already under national and international control but also an unexpectedly high number of new psychoactive substances and combinations of illicit drugs prepared by chemists working in clandestine laboratories. These substances, constituting over 10,000 exhibits, found their way to the forensic laboratory for confirmatory analysis and identification.
“The poor infrastructure of our forensic laboratory translated into inadequacy to cope with the volume of work on ground. It is against this backdrop that INL intervened to sponsor the upgrading of the laboratory to a global standard and expand its capacity to cope with the challenging dynamics inherent in the analysis of new psychoactive substances, amphetamine-type stimulants, synthetic cannabinoids, and fentanyl opioids.”


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