The Director General/CEO of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Dr. Rufus Ebegba has said that the NBMA remains committed to ensuring that Nigeria’s biodiversity is safe and protected in the application of modern biotechnology.
Dr. Ebegba who stated this at a stakeholders’ review meeting of Biosafety draft guidelines for GM fish, GM Animals, GM food/feed safety and GM grain import today (4th may 2021) in Abuja, said the review of the guidelines was aimed at giving all the stakeholders the opportunity to make their inputs for the country to have standard guidelines noting that the review of the draft is one of the many efforts by the NBMA to ensure a robust biosafety system in the country.
“It is important to state here that developing guidelines are being done all over the world as measures to protect human health and ecosystem from the adverse effects that could result from the practice of modern biotechnology. We recognize the controversies surrounding GMOs globally and we are ready to address them hence the development of guidelines for smooth operation”.
DG restated the firm position of the Agency to continue to partner line ministries and agencies to ensure the mandate and objectives of the NBMA are realized. ‘’our position is to ensure the safety of human health and environment while deriving the benefits of modern biotechnology. Safety is our watchword’’ He added.
DG stated that there was no doubt the proficiency of the staff is something to be proud of, more so training workshops are organized from time to time to acquaint and upskill the staff to keep them abreast with the system.
Head of Department of Planning Research and Statistics, Mrs. Bello Scholastica while speaking on the objectives of the workshop noted that the federal government recognizes the significance of driving the economy with safe science and technology hence establishing a regulatory agency (NBMA) to superintend the practice. She further added that the NBMA will continue to discharge its responsibility for the good of all.
The country coordinator prgramme for biosafety systems (PBS) Dr. Mathew Dore acknowledged the great work the NBMA has been doing since inception and encouraged the Agency to maintain the high standard.
He stated that Nigerians have become more aware of the presence of the NBMA and the great work it stands for.
He further added that the Agency’s impact is felt beyond Nigeria and the government should put in resources to enable it discharge its responsibility the more. Many African countries now look up to Nigeria’s guidelines to replicate, he added.
The draft guidelines that were reviewed included GM fish, GM animal, Gm food/feed safety and the guidelines on grain import was validated by stakeholders.
Stakeholder in attendance at the meeting included representatives from National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), National Biotechnology Development Agency (NBADA), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (department of Fisheries, Department of Veterinary Control), Federal Ministry of Justice and Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN).