NBMAcreates biosecurity department to implement mandate

By ChuksOyema-Aziken

The National Bio safety Management Agency, NBMA has created a special unit,the bio security intelligence unit, to ensure that its mandates are carried out.

Director General of the NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, disclosed this in Abuja when he briefed the press on the activities of the agency.

He said the newly created unit will make sure that Nigerians derive the maximum benefits from biotechnology products.

He also disclosed that NBMA has commenced drafting of rules and guidelines for the regulation of modern biotechnology practices and products in the country, such as genome editing.

He said the guidelines were to ensure proper regulation of these areas and also to guarantee that only safe products are deployed for humans and the environment.

Ebegba said NBMA close relations with its international affiliates will ensure that issues of bio safety were not relegated to the backseat in Nigeria.

He said NBMA will continue to ensure that modern biotechnology and its products are safe and that only approved genetically modified seed and grains for food and feed processing is allowed into the Nigerian market.

According to him, this will entail proper surveillance,tracking and monitoring of Genetically-modified organisms, GMO, in Nigeria.

He said, “On the 29th of July, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law a bill to amend the NBMA Act of 2015, to include the regulation of new and emerging areas of biotechnology which are gene drive, gene editing,synthetic biology and bio security in Nigeria with a view to preventing any adverse effect to human health and environment.”

He added that since the new addition to the NBMA Act, the agency had partnered with other organizations locally and internationally in efforts to ensure that the country achieves its mandate of safeguarding human health and the environment.

“I want to use this medium to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government through the agency is doing everything possible to ensure that we are all safe. Nigerians need not be afraid as their health and well being are paramount in the mind of the agency as they relate to bio safety,”Ebegba maintained.

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