Just like technology, crime rates also advance globally. TARKAA DAVID takes a cursory look at the NAF’s scientific approach to fighting crimes in Nigeria.
In a bid to further employ scientific approaches to crime fighting, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) recently commissioned the newly remodeled and equipped Forensic Crime Laboratory at the 057 Provost Investigation Group (057 PIG) Ikeja, Lagos. The event witnessed the commissioning of a newly constructed Headquarters Building for 057 PIG, which is aimed at ensuring a conducive environment for the NAF Directorate of Air Provost to effectively and efficiently carry out criminal investigations as well as train its personnel.
The Forensic Lab would significantly assist Air Provost Investigators in obtaining credible evidence for successful prosecution of cases in a court of law while also adding to the country’s crime fighting resources. One of the highlights of the event was the simulation of a Crime Scene Investigation, conducted by resource persons from Sustainable Criminal Justice Solutions UK and NAF personnel, to demonstrate the intricate process involved in evidence collection/capturing as well as the importance of ensuring effective control at a crime scene.
In his remarks, the chief of air staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that the rapid growth of technology has led to an increase in the rate and extent of crimes. He observed that, following the expansion of the NAF Force Structure; it has become obvious that the service required a law enforcement arm with the capacity to effectively employ scientific approaches in all facets of its critical competence in order to enhance security and discipline in the Service.
He noted that it was in fulfillment of this requirement that the new PIG Headquarters Building and NAF Forensic Crime Lab were being commissioned. Air Marshal Abubakar noted, as a prerequisite to provision of the Laboratory, the NAF had embarked on the conduct of various specialists training for the personnel to man the Group. He revealed that the NAF, in conjunction with foreign partners from the United Kingdom (UK), had trained 16 Provost Personnel in the Core Investigative Skills and Interview Techniques, while another set of 16 personnel would be concluding the Crime Scene Investigation Course by the end of the week then in September. It is noteworthy to recall that the last time such training was conducted in the NAF was about 30 years ago. Speaking further, the CAS disclosed that the investigative capacity of the provost would be further enhanced through the training of 10 Provost Officers in the Advanced Detective Course at the Police Staff College, Jos before the end of the year. He added that NAF was also expanding and enhancing its utilisation of Military Working Dogs to boost physical security of critical NAF Bases as well as for integration into the conduct of Combat Search and Rescue operations.
“In the same vein, 140 Air Provost personnel would soon commence the Force Protection in Complex Air Ground Environment training, in conjunction with the British Military Advisory Training Team. Furthermore, the rejuvenation of the Air Provost’s Explosive Ordinance Detection capability is projected to commence by the end of this year”, he said.
While he thanked the president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his leadership and determination in providing the enabling environment for the NAF to thrive, he also expressed the gratitude of the service to the National Assembly, especially the Senate and House of Representatives committees on the Air Force, for their commitment in appropriating the resources to enable the NAF effectively perform its constitutional roles. The CAS congratulated the NAF logistics branch for undertaking the work by direct labour and charged all Air Provost Personnel to develop strategic foresight founded on innovation, flexibility, willingness to collaborate with other security agencies as well as objectivity and fairness, in order to successfully meet the demands of contemporary policing. Speaking during the commissioning, the guest of honour, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, lauded the efforts of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, in providing a befitting and functional environment whilst making inroads in the application of forensics in policing.
According to the Police Chief, the reactivation of the laboratory is a testimony of the NAF leadership’s commitment to push the boundaries and improve on the methodologies and technological platforms to detect and analyse evidence of crime in the Service. He noted that the effectiveness of the facility could, with time, become a force multiplier with regards to raising and maintaining the morale of airmen, which would, in turn, enhance operational capability.
Idris urged the beneficiaries of the facility to exploit its potential to the maximum in fighting crime and criminality. He commended the CAS for the unprecedented achievements recorded in the area of capacity building in the NAF as well as for playing a pivotal role in bringing normalcy to troubled areas of the country. Earlier in his address, the Commander 057 PIG, Group Captain Garuba Bello, stated that to ensure rapid response to crime, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has also commenced the in-house reactivation of two more platforms to enhance its operational efficiency in the discharge of its constitutional roles. The director of public relations and information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the reactivation of Mi-35P and EC-135 helicopters at 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) Port Harcourt would bring to 15, the total number of aircraft that would have been reactivated within the last three years.
He said the reactivation, which would enable the service save huge foreign exchange that would have been expended if carried out abroad, would also improve NAF’s operational capability.
The chief of air staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, while assessing the progress of work on the Mi-35P and EC-135 helicopters at 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) Port Harcourt on 28 September 2018, stated that the aircraft would become serviceable and available before the end of the year. Recall that, just recently, the NAF re-inducted another Mi-35P helicopter into combat duties after undergoing a comprehensive in-country Life Extension Programme (LEP) at 115 SOG. The re-induction is the first time such a feat would be achieved for NAF Mi-series helicopters in Nigeria.
“With the support of the federal government, the NAF had acquired and inducted 18 brand new aircraft into the service, while also reactivating 13 others that were previously unserviceable; bringing to 31 the total number of aircraft that had come into service in the last three years,” he said. Speaking further, the CAS noted that the NAF was also expecting the delivery of additional six brand new attack helicopters procured from Italy along with the 12 Super Tucano aircraft expected from the United States of America, which would significantly boost NAF’s aircraft holding by the end of 2020. Air Marshal Abubakar, who inspected Research and Development (R & D) projects executed by the Unit also commissioned a new block of 30 single bedroom transit accommodation for airmen and airwomen as well as a remodeled and furnished block of Single Officers’ Quarters (SOQ), These projects carried to improve operational effectiveness included the design and construction of a Cannon Loading Machine; Rocket Pod Testing Device as well as a Battery Cart and AC Generator Phasing Device for Mi-35P Helicopter Fleet.
Others are the design and construction an Engine Stand and Ground Towing Equipment for the EC-135 Helicopter. Conducting the CAS round the projects, the Commanding Officer 14 Logistics Wing (CO 14 Log Wg), Wing Commander Opeoluwa Ige, said the projects were embarked upon to provide innovative solutions to engineering problems in the unit. He pointed out that they had been executed by personnel of the unit, in collaboration with some local and foreign partners, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing same or similar equipment from abroad.
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