The drafting committee for the National Biosecurity Policy has presented the preliminary draft of the National Biosecurity Policy to the Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba.
Dr Ebegba, while receiving the document in Abuja on Monday, August 17, 2020, commended the members of the committee for ensuring they met the given deadline for the submission of the draft policy.
The DG/CEO said the issue of biosecurity has become more emphasised with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic as it has become a serious biosecurity issue all over the world.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that there is a need to have a national biosecurity system that will meet world standards which will become a model for other Nations as we cannot wait for another Biological Agent to catch us unawares.
“There is a need for the country to be well prepared ahead of any future Biological threat,” he said.
Dr Ebegba commended the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari over the speedy passage of the 2019 amendment of the NBMA Act 2015, which included the regulation of new and emerging technologies such as gene editing, gene drive, synthetic biology, and biosecurity.
“Biosecurity affects our health, the environment and distorts our economy as we have seen in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic which is a major pointer to the impact of biological agents to human health, the environment and our economy.”
He said the National Biosecurity Policy would be subjected to a national stakeholders’ review after which it will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council for approval through the Federal Ministry of Environment.
Chairman of the Committee and Director of the Biosecurity Department in the NBMA, Miss Chinyere Nzeduru, while giving an overview of the document, commended the members of the committee for their efforts in ensuring that they met the deadline given to them by the DG/CEO.
The Chairman said the document has 27 major thematic areas which include institutional governance and coordination, border management, surveillance, preparedness and response, plant health, human health, animal health and veterinary services, bio terrorism.
She added that other thematic areas which bothered on finance and human resource such as finance and resource mobilization, human resources, monitoring and evaluation, among others, were included as they are key to the development of a strong and robust National Biosecurity Policy.
The document was handed over to the DG/CEO for further necessary action.