The Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with financial support from Italy have commissioned a new evidence storage facility in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital to boost the ongoing war on terrorism.
A press statement by the UNODC office in Nigeria on Friday read: “Earlier today, the Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held an event to commission a new evidence storage facility at the JIC in Maiduguri, Borno State.
“Through the generous financial support of the Republic of Italy, this infrastructure investment is a significant contribution to enhancing the JIC’s capacity to collect and preserve evidence recovered from terrorist incidents, thereby strengthening rule of law-based and human rights-compliant criminal justice measures against terrorism and violent extremism in the region.”
The statement added that with the support of the one-year “Project to Strengthen the Capacity of the Joint Investigation Center in Maiduguri to Collect Evidence and Bring Terrorist to Justice with the Respect for the Rule of Law”, funded by the Republic of Italy and implemented by UNODC, the secure evidence storage facility constructed at the JIC will enable the Centre – a multi-agency hub comprised of military, security and law enforcement officers – to preserve, exploit and handle evidential material in a manner that allows for its forensic examination and effective presentation in court.
According to the statement, in addition to the refurbishment of the JIC’s secure evidence facility, the project has further supported the mentoring, procurement of equipment and development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to facilitate the effective collection, processing, storage and retrieval of physical evidence.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by high-level VIPs including the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Matthias Schmale; Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Italy to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Tarek Chazli; Deputy Theatre Commander, Major General KA Isoni; and UNODC Country Representative for Nigeria, Mr. Oliver Stolpe.
In his remarks, UNODC Country Representative for Nigeria, Mr. Stolpe, emphasized that “this new facility, thanks to the generous funding by the Government of Italy, will provide the JIC with a critical resource to further enhance its capability to store and retrieve evidence. This ultimately will help the criminal justice system to ensure accountability for the most serious crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence, committed by Boko Haram over the course of the past 15 years.”
Representing the Embassy of Italy, Mr. Tarek Chazli, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Italy to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, highlighted that “the tide is turning in the North East. This infrastructural investment in the JIC will help to accelerate the course of justice, and in doing so, help the process of peace in Borno State”.
Commander of the Joint Investigation Centre, Lieutenant Colonel Aliyu Ahmed, noted that “the significance of this facility cannot be over-emphasised considering the significance of evidence to the administration of criminal justice system in Nigeria. This facility will greatly enhance our evidence storage capacity thereby contributing to the success of the overall mandate of the Centre.”