Environment Minister of State, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, has commended the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for its efforts in ensuring that the activities of modern biotechnology and its products are properly regulated.
The Minister of State, who made the submission when she paid a working visit to the NBMA offices in Abuja on Monday, August 31, 2020, noted that since its inception, the agency has achieved a lot by putting in place appropriate measures to protect human health and the environment from the potential harmful impact of modern biotechnology products.
The minister said the NBMA is significant in the efforts of the Federal Government to ensure sustainable development in the country.
‘’The world we live now demands an agency like the NBMA as transboundary movement of organisms need to be checked to nip in the bud any threat of bioterrorism. I think the agency is doing a great job for all of us. I am quite impressed by what I see today, your trained staff and the state-of-the-art detection and analysis laboratory are pointers that Nigeria is going in the right direction in terms of regulation of modern biotechnology,” she said.
The minister promised to assist the NBMA in meeting its areas of challenges so that staff of the agency can discharge their duties more efficiently.
Director General/CEO of NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegbe, in a remark, appreciated the presence of the minister and restated commitment to ensure the realisation of the mission and vision of the agency.
While giving a presentation on the status of the NBMA, he explored the mandate of the agency, regulatory instruments, concerns, international partnerships, giant strides, regulatory processes, approvals granted, challenges, and biosecurity, among others.
The DG/CEO said the agency’s amended act included ensuring that Nigerians are protected from harmful biological agents which the current COVID19 pandemic is one.
“The issue of biosecurity is imperative to our nation as there is need to protect Nigerians and the environment from harmful biological agents. We need to be ready hence the agency has begun drafting of the National Biosecurity Policy which will be presented to the ministry as soon as it is validated by stakeholders.
“We live in a precarious world today and the need to adequately regulate modern biotechnology is a step to achieving sustainable growth and development.”
Ebegba led the minister on a tour of the agency’s Genetic Modification (GM) Detection and Analysis Laboratory where the minister commended the modern state-of-the-art equipment.