The honourable minister of state for environment Sharon Ikeazor has commended the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for its major stride in ensuring Biosecurity in Nigeria’ The Minister who gave the commendation at the first stakeholders review meeting of the draft National Biosecurity Policy in Abuja, said the national Biosecurity Policy is aimed at improving health, agriculture and the environment..
The Minister of state who was represented by the director Human Resources Management in the Ministry of Environment said that the success of this policy review will lead to the implementation of an integrated biosecurity approach at National and sub-national levels which will require the use of the document as a clear framework that defines the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders. The Director General/CEO of NBMA Dr Rufus Ebegba, while welcoming stakeholders said that the federal government is ready to tackle threats from biological agents in the country noting that the NBMA will ensure that such harmful agents are properly contained and eliminated so it does not cause harm to human health and the environment. Dr. Ebegba stressed that at the end of the review process, stakeholders will hand over a refined and robust biosecurity policy that will measure up to global standard to the country.
‘’By the instrumentality of the Federal Government and supports from international organizations we have been able to institutionalize safe practice of modern biotechnology and much effort in including all other emerging technologies’’. Cutting-edge research, science and technologies are major drivers of the economy and development in recent years which Nigeria must key into.
Dr. Rufus Ebegba
The NBMA has been able to entrench consciousness in the mind of Nigerians and the exigency to put up policies to regulate biosecurity as proactive measure against bio threats and bio hazards, the DG said. He also revealed that Nigeria is one of the major players in the global arena of biosecurity matters ‘’and in fact, we play major role in African. Our policies have become models for other African countries to copy and we are proud of this.’’ DG NBMA acknowledged the support from the World Health Organization in particular and all other global organizations making concerted effort to have a safe world while harnessing the opportunities modern biotechnology promise. ‘’ I urge everyone to put in your very best in reviewing this document. This is a national assignment before us and we must do our best for the safety of all Nigerians.’’ In goodwill message, the Director General Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service Dr Vincent Isegbe stated that, there was no time better than now to have this policy in place having learnt from the unprecedented, lingering and devastating covid19 that has no wonder drug yet. He noted the importance of bringing all the stakeholders to review this document, he said ‘’this provides scope for the many concerned in this area to make their positive inputs in refining the draft document and I first off, appreciate NBMA for the knowledge and skills put together in drafting this document’.
The representative of the World Health Organization in a goodwill message charged NBMA to remain undeterred and see that proper things are always done. He acknowledged the effort of the NBMA and pledged more supports from the WHO like before to facilitate whatever programme NBMA has to do. He noted that previous policies developed by NBMA were world standard and should remain steadfast. The Commissioner for Health Lagos state Prof. Akin Abayomi said the state is ready to work and develop the policy together with the NBMA adding that Nigerians need to take issues of Biosafety serious following the devastating effect of COVID19 pandemic. The two-day review meeting had in attendance the representatives of the World Health Organization, African Biosafety Network of Expertise, Programme for Biosafety System, Food and Agriculture Organization, European Union delegate to ECOWAS in Nigeria and many more.