NBMA assures on National Biosecurity policy

By Chuks Oyema-Aziken

The Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba has said that the Agency is working round the clock to ensure the completion and submission of the draft National Biosecurity policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), for consideration and approval.The DG stated this when the Senate Committee on Environment visited NBMA for an oversight function in Abuja.

Ebegba noted that the Agency is also carrying out expert reviews of other regulatory instruments and possible validation such as the National Biosafety Guidelines on Genetically Modified (GM) Fish, tree, birds, animals and mosquitoes.

“The NBMA will continue in the bid to ensure that her mandate is delivered and we will be doing so much such as processing of Biosafety Applications, nationwide Survey and Tracking of GMOs and Inspection of GMO Farms, companies and Research Institutes, Risk management plan and strategy development for protecting human and, animal health and the environment, Template development for Risk assessment, Establishment of National Biosafety Management Agency Data Centre and Integrated GMO Monitoring System, Participation in UN COP-MOP, among others”.

While making his presentation on the overview of the National Biosafety Management Agency’s 2020 achievements, Dr Ebegba highlighted the achievements of the Agency in the past year 2020 to include, Creation of the Department of Biosecurity, organization of a National Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting, drafting of a National Biosecurity Policy which was formally presented by the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor at a National Stakeholders meeting, among other very many and laudable feats which include development of various sectoral documents.

The DG/CEO said that despite these success stories, the NBMA is still bedeviled by some challenges such as lack of befitting office space for its national headquarters, poor funding among others and requested the committee to assist and collaborate with the Agency in finding solutions to the challenges.

Chairman senate committee on Environment, distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu commended the NBMA on its efforts in securing the health of Nigerians and the environment despite low funding of the Agency.

Senator Ekweremadu promised to ensure that the needs of the Agency will be adequately met adding that they are prepared to work with the Agency in the bid to achieve its mandate of ensuring safety to human health and the environment.Members of the committee also commended the DG/CEO for his detailed presentation and his efforts in ensuring that Nigerians are safe from any adverse impact of modern Biotechnology and its products.

The Members of the committee visited the Agency’s GM detection and Analysis laboratory and commended the state of the art equipment they saw in the lab.

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