The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) was established by the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015, to provide regulatory framework to adequately safe guard human health and the environment from potential adverse effects of modern biotechnology and genetically modified organisms, while harnessing the potentials of modern biotechnology and its derivatives, for the benefit of Nigerians. The Act came into force in April 2015, with the appointment of a Director General and Chief Executive Officer. The UN international agreement known as Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety which Nigeria signed is an environment protocol and it requires members to domesticate the agreement through a law. The Biosafety Act is therefore to domesticate the Protocol and address our National Biosafety requirements.
The National Biotechnology Development Agency has currently a biotechnology bill before the NASS. Its mandate is to promote biotechnology development in all sectors of the Nigeria economy. It is to promote indigenous acquisition and development of easy and affordable requisite biotechnology in Nigeria and Indigenous R & D to generate copious innovations in biotechnology as well as for the sustenance and growth of the biotech industry.
The National Biosafety Management Agency regulates modern biotechnology activities and the release into the environment, handling and use of genetically modified organisms which are products of modern biotechnology to prevent adverse impact on the environment and human health. On the other hand the National Biotechnology development Agency promotes modern biotechnology activities and GMOs.
The Biosafety protocol which Nigeria signed, requires a biosafety management and Regulatory Agency separate from biotechnology promoting Agency for transparency and to avoid biosafety being compromised and to also avoid the promoter being a judge in its case. This is the situation in other countries where there are biosafety laws and agencies.
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB), which Nigeria signed in 2000 and ratified 2003, came into force on 11th September, 2003. The protocol’s major plank is to contribute to the global effort towards ensuring adequate level of protection in the trans-boundary transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology, focusing on preservation of human health and the environment. Consequently, the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, serving as Meeting of Parties (COP-MOP) to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, in 2010, adopted a new protocol known as the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress, which Nigeria signed in 2012. Objective of the supplementary protocol is to contribute to the conservation of and sustainable use of biological diversity, by providing international rules and procedures in the field of liability and redress relating to living modified organisms. In compliance to this international requirement, a Biosafety Bill was development and subjected to various stakeholders’ review, to address the concerns associated with modern biotechnology and to domesticate both the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Protocol on Liability and Redress. The Bill, which was passed by the 6th Parliament on 1st June 2011, became time barred and was re-presented to the 7th National Assembly, passed in 2014 and was signed on the 18th of April 2015.