DG’s Welcome Address

DR. RUFUS EBEGBA, Director-General/CEO, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

There are myriads of critical global challenges, which also affect Nigeria. Addressing these challenges requires adoption of out of the box workable measures and safe technologies. Technologies that would foster green economy by reducing and eliminating the factors that contribute to climate change and mitigate the impacts of climate change, ensure conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; as well as provide food security for the enhancement of the well-being of citizens are of national priority. Obviously, advancements in technologies are usually characterized by some potential adverse impacts and modern biotechnology is not an exception in this regard. It is in this context that Biosafety has become a means of addressing potential adverse impacts of modern technology and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity taking into account risks to human health.

I welcome you to the official website of National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) of Nigeria. This medium was created to reach out to all stakeholders and the general public in order to keep them abreast of the processes and operations of the Agency. NBMA website is also a platform for collaboration and resource sharing among the players in the Biosafety management, so as to ensure adequate protection for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity taking into account risk to human in the practice of modern biotechnology and the handling and use of genetically modified organisms. This Website also provides links to some relevant organizations.
I wish to note here that the NBMA was established by the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015. As a regulatory agency, our major function is to regulate modern biotechnology sector in Nigeria to ensure that the technology does not produce harmful effects to human health and the environment.

The National Biosafety Management Agency has the mandate to manage Biosafety matters in Nigeria. It is therefore charged with the responsibility of providing regulatory framework, and institutional and administrative mechanisms for safety measures in the application of modern biotechnology in Nigeria, with a view to preventing any adverse effects on human health, animals, plants and environment.

Our Success is propelled by our:

i. Mission:
The Mission of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is to promote the basic tenets of biosafety as enunciated in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and enforce Nigeria National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015, regulations and guidelines to ensure safe application, handling and use of products of modern biotechnology.

ii. Vision:
A holistic, responsive and vibrant national biosafety system that offers the best of its potentials in the regulation of modern biotechnology activities in Nigeria, with a view to preventing any adverse impact on the conservation and sustainable of biodiversity taking into account risk to human health.

iii. Core Values:
The Core Values are:
– Safety to the environment and human health;
– Respect for human dignity;
– Transparency;
– Integrity
– Professionalism

iv. Objectives:
(a) Establish and strengthen the institutional arrangement on Biosafety matters in Nigeria;

(b) Safeguard human health, biodiversity and the environment from any potential, adverse effect of genetically modified organism including genetically modified food safety;

(c) Ensure safety in the use of modern biotechnology and provide holistic approach to the regulation of genetically modified organisms;
(d) Provide measures for the case by case assessment of genetically modified organisms and management of risk in order to ensure safety in the use of genetically modified organisms to human health and the environment;

(e) Provide measures for effective public participation, public awareness and access to information in the use and application of modern biotechnology and genetically modified organisms, and

(f) Ensure that the use of the genetically modified organisms does not have adverse impact on socio-economic interest either at the community or national level.

v. Functions:
i. Development of measures, requirements and criteria for risk assessment, peer review and decision making;

ii. Development of risk management plan and strategy for protecting human health, biological diversity and the environment from potential risks associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and all activities of modern biotechnology;

iii. Receive verify, and review applications for various Biosafety services, granting permits and keeping records of all approvals and unapproved applications;

iv. Carry out laboratory analysis of randomly collected samples of flora and fauna, products or materials, from across the country, for the purposes of determining their genetic composition to ensure compliance with the Act;

v. Carry out environmental and human health risk assessment and risk management of genetically modified organisms;

vi. Carry out actions necessary to ensure compliance with the legal obligations set out in the National Biosafety Management Act (2015), including, but not limited to, the inspection of facilities, research activities with genetically modified organisms covered by this Act, collection and analysis of samples of materials covered by the Act, monitoring of human health and the environment to ensure safety of genetically modified organisms regulated by the Act;

vii. Take inventory and maintain database of laboratories with physical and human capacities to conduct research in modern biotechnology;

viii. Monitor the activities of Institutional Biosafety Committees and Biosafety officers;

ix. Carry out capacity building activities;

x. Implement the provisions of the Conventions and the Protocols on matters relating to genetically modified organisms;

xi. Render reports to the secretariat of the Convention on the implementation of the Convention and Protocol on matters relating to the use of genetically modified organisms;

xii. Liaise with the Secretariat of the Convention and the Biosafety Clearing House with respect to the administrative functions required under the Protocol;

xiii. Propose, for the approval of the Board, the overall policy guidance on issues of Biosafety in Nigeria;

xiv. Liaises with: United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and ECOWAS on Biosafety matters;

xv. Partner with other relevant local and international agencies for the speedy realization of the Agency’s mandate ; and

xvi. Perform other duties as may be necessary for the full discharge of its functions under the Act

vi. Benefits of the Agency to Nigeria

i. Minimizing and eliminating risks to human health in the use of GMOs’;
ii. Protection against any adverse effect of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Biological Diversity and the environment
iii. Ensures decisions that would guard against any adverse socio-economic consequences in the use of GMOs
iv. Safe adoption of modern biotechnology and utilization of its potential benefits for economic growth, improved agriculture, job and wealth creation, industry growth and sustainable environment under a legal framework;
v. Confirmation and harnessing of the potentials of safe modern biotechnology practice;
vi. Reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to the principles of International agreements, treaties (CBD and in particular the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB);
vii. Adequate regulation of genetically modified organisms,
viii. Provision of an enabling legal environment for indigenous and foreign scientists to practice modern biotechnology safely;
ix. Assurance of adequately regulated and safe use of modern biotechnology for:

a. Improvement and increased productivity in the agricultural sector that would lead to improved socioeconomic status of Nigerian farmers, food security and enhanced national economic prosperity;

b. Foreign investments and earnings from safe modern biotechnology sector;

c. Environmental sustainability;

d. Jobs/wealth creation arising from various modern biotechnology activities;

e. Availability of raw materials for industrial growth, particularly in the Nigerian textile sector;

f. Revenue generation, for Nigeria through taxes, permit fees and other charges;

g. Development of safe plants/organisms that can reduce the impact of climate change and serve in pollution remediation;

h. Improvement of the medical sector using various plants that abound in the country.

Permit me to express the optimism that you will find this platform very useful as we partner to ensure adequate protection of the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity taking into account risk to human in the practice of modern biotechnology, handling and use of genetically modified organisms.

We will be delighted to welcome your suggestions and input on how we can serve Nigeria better.

I thank you for the visit to our website.

Dr. Rufus Ebegba
Director General/Chief Executive Officer
National Biosafety Management Agency
Abuja, Nigeria