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Friday, February 3, 2023

Govt approves National Biosecurity Policy for Nigeria

In what looks like a demonstration of its commitment to the protection of the environment, human health and socio-economic development of Nigeria, the Federal Government has approved a new National Biosecurity Policy for the country.

Sharon Ikeazor
Environment Minister of State, Sharon Ikeazor

Announcing the development, Minister of State for the Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, stated that the approval was given on Thursday, December 23, 2021, at the special session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

Ikeazor revealed: “The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan 2022-2026 to ensure, among other things, biosecurity for the protection of the environment and human health from harmful biological agents and to protect our socio-economic development.

“The Policy document aims to foster an integrated and holistic biosecurity strategy that will be implemented through one-health approach for the prevention, early detection, rapid response to biothreats and recovery from biosecurity incidents.

“This Policy is to ensure synergy and harmonisation among biosecurity stakeholders for effective and efficient operations of the national biosecurity systems. It is to ensure that all aspects of National and International Agreement, Conventions, Guidelines and other instruments on biosecurity are duly taking into consideration.”

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2019 assented to an amendment of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act, 2015 mandating the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) to “put measures in place to ensure biosecurity in Nigeria”.

The NBMA, in setting the stage for the implementation of the Presidential directive, and in recognition of the fact that biosecurity is a multisectoral discipline that cuts across several Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), convened a Biosecurity Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting in January 2020. This was to discuss and develop a befitting and workable national document and action plan to address all issues and concerns on biosecurity for the country.

At the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that effective synergy among stakeholders and introduction of emerging methodologies will promote an efficient prevention, preparedness, response and mitigation system against any bio-threat. Accordingly, it was resolved that a National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan be developed.

The Minister further explained: “After going through several reviews, stakeholders validated the draft National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan in September 2021, before it was presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

“We are very pleased with this approval in the environment sector, which gives the country a proper, comprehensive and workable document to tackle biosecurity issues and ensure that bio-threats are properly contained and even eliminated.”

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