Forensic Investigation of Mass Disasters in Nigeria: A Review

Niger Med J. Jan-Feb 2015;56(1):1-5. doi: 10.4103/0300-1652.149162.

Abstract

This paper is to establish the present state of things in the country in terms of legal framework and the availability of personnel with a view to presenting an overview of proper mass disaster investigations. This is a retrospective review of mass disasters in Nigeria that occurred within the last 20 years. The study therefore reviews the state of the forensic investigation of the mass disasters as well as the efforts made to identify the victims of the disaster. The process of proper forensic investigation from the stage of evaluation of the scene and recovery process to the final identification of victims are presented to serve as a protocol for the country. The assessment of the present state of preparedness in Nigeria is also examined with a view to improving the practice to international standards. Data were retrieved from official documents from the aviation industry as well as Nigeria news reports. The standard protocols for disaster victim identification were retrieved from the guide released by the INTERPOL. The state of preparedness of the country and recommendations for improvement are presented. The Federal government and the states of the federation should without further delay put in place the process of reviewing the law of Coroner's system and provide the enabling environment for the proper forensic investigation. The training curriculum of the first responders should incorporate mass disaster investigations in order to produce efficient officers and personnel. A functional disaster victim identification (DVI) team is strongly advocated to incorporate different professionals involved in mass disaster management.

Keywords: Forensic investigation; identification; mass disaster.