By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The need for a National Biosecurity Policy to safeguard human health, environment and the economy has been stressed.
Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, stated this at the first national review meeting of the zero draft National Biosecurity Policy and action plan developed by the National Biosafety Management Agency.
Ikeazor represented by the Director, Human Resource of the ministry, Lawrence Adigbe said biosecurity remains strategic and integrated for analysing and managing relevant bio risks to human, animal and plant health and associated risks to the environment.
She said, “I wish to reemphasise that humans, animals and water bodies which are at the receiving end of the impact of bio-threats are parts of the environment and the negative impact on any of them seriously affects the ecosystem and disrupts the socio-economic activities of the country.
”Therefore, this document before us will drive the institutionalisation of a harmonised and workable biosecurity system which will serve as a fundamental approach to minimising the risks of biological threats to human, animal and plant health, taking into account the environment and the economy.”
Ikeazor said the success of this policy review will lead to the implementation of an integrated biosecurity approach at national and sub-national levels.
Speaking further, she said it will require the use of this document as a clear framework that defines the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, adequate technical and scientific capability, a well-functioning infrastructure and a system for communication and information exchange.
She continued, “You all may agree with me that under a competent coordinating authority, a unifying force which seeks to coordinate and take advantage of the synergies and complementarity of different roles and responsibilities will, provide the impetus needed in achieving a bio secured Nigeria.” We must ensure that transparent and science-based argument, implementable strategies in line with our national needs, risk assessment and management that underpins decision-making, education and advocacy among many others form the basis of our review process in ensuring effective prevention, preparedness and response to bio-threats taking into consideration, New knowledge and technologies that match the ever changing bio-threats invasions.”
Earlier, the director general, NBMA, Dr Rufus Edegba, said achieving biosecurity is a collective responsibility.
He advocated the need for proactiveness by all stakeholders to protect Nigerians against biosecurity threats.In a goodwill message, the registrar, Veterinary Council of Nigeria Josiah Kantiyok said biosecurity is a big deal hence the need for proper sanitation and control of movement.He disclosed that bioterrorism arises from animals hence the need to control and contain the diseases with the animal population.