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Crop Biotech Update

Nigeria on Track to Submit National Biosecurity Policy for Approval

April 28, 2021

The Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed commitment to fast-track the formulation of the country's National Biosecurity Policy. The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is working round the clock to ensure completion and submission of a draft policy to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval, the Agency's Director General/Chief Executive Officer Dr. Rufus Ebegba has said. This emerged when the Senate Committee on Environment visited the NBMA in Abuja for an oversight function.

The policy aims to provide a structure for effective coordination of biosecurity activities and services and develop and implement relevant guidelines, plans, regulations, and strategies for best practices in all components of biosecurity.

Dr. Ebegba also revealed that NBMA is carrying out expert reviews and possible validation of other regulatory instruments that include the National Biosafety Guidelines on Genetically Modified (GM) fish, tree, birds, animals, and mosquitoes. "The NBMA will continue in the bid to ensure that her mandate is delivered. We will be doing so much; such as processing of biosafety applications, carrying out nationwide survey and tracking of GMOs, and inspection of GMO farms, companies, and research institutes," he said.

He added that the Agency will also review risk management plans and strategy development for protecting human and animal health and the environment, as well as developing a template for risk assessment. "The Agency will also establish the National Biosafety Management Agency Data Centre and Integrated GMO Monitoring System, and participate in UN COP-MOP, among others," assured the Director General.

The drafting of the National Biosecurity Policy was among key achievements recorded by the Agency in the past year. The DG/CEO highlighted other notable achievements that the Agency realized in 2020. These include the creation of the Department of Biosecurity and the organization of a National Stakeholders' Consultative Meeting.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu commended the NBMA on its efforts in ensuring the safety of human health and the environment in Nigeria. Distinguished Senator Ekweremadu assured Dr. Ebegba of the Committee's commitment to work with the Agency in the bid to achieve its mandate. The Members of the committee visited the Agency's GM detection and analysis laboratory and commended the state-of-the-art equipment installed in the lab.

For more information, contact NBMA DG/CEO Dr. Rufus Ebegba at rebegba@hotmail.com

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