By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The new Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Bakari Wadinga has promised to assist the staff of the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) to resolve lingering issues in the Council.
A Press release from EHORECON said the permanent secretary made the pledge while addressing management and staff of the Council in Abuja.
The press release signed by Kehinde A. Openibo
Head, Press and Public Communications, for the Registrar said Wadinga requested to know the linkage between the Council’s functions as it relates to the current issues of Lassa fever in the country.
The release said the head of Human Resource, EHORECON, Mr. Victor Mba who also doubles as overseer of the Council briefed the Permanent Secretary of the challenges the Council which includes inability of government to reconstitute the Council’s board and relying on rented apartments across the country.
Receiving the Permanent Secretary at the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said that the Agency has been strategically positioned to ensure that humans and the environment are sustained and secured.
He said that NBMA has been working in accordance with its mandate of ensuring safety of humans and the environment in the transfer and application of modern Biotechnology and its products.
“The NBMA, through the act, has been mandated to provide regulatory framework to adequately safeguard 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”.
“We are working closely with other stakeholders and line ministries, departments and Agency to ensure that our mandate is achieved and only safe products are deployed for humans and the environment”.
Dr Ebegba said the act was amended and this has expanded the scope of the NBMA to include Biosecurity and the regulation of new and emerging technologies.
“With the inclusion of new areas of regulation, the mandate of the NBMA has further been expanded and this has led to the creation of the Biosecurity department which ensure the security of Biological Agents so they do not cause harm to humans and the environment”.
The DG/CEO while briefing the permanent secretary, stated the mission, vision and objectives of the NBMA and outlined some of the achievements and challenges bedeviling the Agency, some of the major challenges being the issues of funding and a befitting office accommodation for the Agency.
He noted that there is need for the NBMA to make deliberate efforts to boost its revenue generation by contributing meaningfully to the improvement of seeds in the country and ensure the visibility of the Agency.
“I want to appreciate the Director General for his efforts at ensuring that Nigeria is safe but a lot still needs to be done in the area of revenue generation. There is need to take deliberate steps to ensure revenue generation by way of research that will contribute positively to the development of seeds in the country”. He said.
“The Agency has the potential to do more than regulation and I want to urge you to take advantage of your position as regulators to embark on sustainable research for the benefit of Nigerians”. He said.
The DG/CEO led the permanent secretary on a tour round the offices of the NBMA and to the Genetic modification, detection and analysis Laboratory.