The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has reactivated, expanded and upgraded its Crime Laboratory, which is located at its Provost Investigation Group, after 30 years of disuse. The resuscitation of the crime laboratory is to enable the employment of a more scientific approach to investigation of crimes in the NAF. The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, revealed this yesterday, 30 July 2018, during a 2-day Conference for NAF personnel of the Air Provost Specialty, with the theme ‘Scientific Approach to Crime Prevention: A Prerequisite for Contemporary Air Police Operations’. The Conference, which began yesterday, is aimed at acquainting Air Provost personnel with scientific methods of tackling contemporary security challenges. In attendance at the opening ceremony were Air Provost personnel, both serving and retired, as well as provost officers from sister Services and the equivalent from para-military organizations.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the Conference, the CAS stated that the traditional methods of policing had become less effective due to the influence of technology in the perpetration of crime. According to him, the NAF had therefore started building the capacity of Air Provost to effectively employ scientific approaches in all facets of its critical competencies. The CAS stated that 16 Air Provost personnel had commenced a 2-week core investigative skills and interviewing course while another set of 16 personnel would also begin the Crime Scene Investigation course by September 2018. The courses, which were being conducted in conjunction with reputable foreign partners from the United Kingdom, would reinforce the culture and efficacy of scientific approaches to policing in the NAF. He further disclosed that the NAF was expanding the use of Military Working Dogs to boost the physical security of NAF Bases while also working towards integrating them into the conduct of Combat Search and Rescue operations as well as rejuvenating NAF Provost’s Explosive Ordinance Detection capability.

Delivering his lecture on the theme of the Conference, the Guest Speaker, Dr Ona Ekhomu, who is a renowned security Consultant, stated that it was imperative for Nigeria to adopt scientific approach to crime fighting instead of the traditional methods. According to him, Nigeria is yet to have full forensic law and this, he said, had hampered investigation of serious crimes in the country. The Guest Speaker also identified lack of crime database, poor funding, skill and capacity gaps, lack of infrastructure and inadequate security awareness programmes as some of the challenges to crime prevention in the country. He commended the NAF leadership for upgrading its crime laboratory, which he advised, should be developed to include ballistic and biometric data capture, storage and analysis capability. During the discussion session, participants agreed that there was the need for synergy among all security agencies to stem the tide of criminality in the country.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Administration, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Kingsley Lar, represented by the Director of Legal Services, AVM Mahmoud Ahmed, said there was no alternative to the adoption of a scientific approach to crime prevention and detection. “It has always been the belief of the NAF leadership that the current security challenges in the country necessitate a review of the operational approach of the Service in meeting its security and defence imperatives”, he said. Some of the highlights of the Conference included the presentation of Distinguished Leadership Award to Air Marshal Abubakar by the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria. The first day of the Conference, which ends today, also featured the unveiling of a newly designed peak cap for Provost personnel. The new peak cap was predicated on the need to streamline the Air Provost dressing with other sister Services while also giving the Specialty the requisite uniqueness.

Air Vice Marshal
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force