The Senate committee on environment has lauded the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for the effective regulation of modern biotechnology and its products in Nigeria.
The lawmakers, led by the committee’s chairman, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, gave the commendation during their oversight function at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
The lawmakers commended the efforts of NBMA in securing the health of Nigerians and the environment by enforcing the safe application of the technology in the nation, even as they expressed the committee’s readiness to work with the agency in the bid to achieve its mandate of ensuring safety to human health and the environment.
The leader, Ekweremadu also pledged that the committee would ensure the needs are adequately met to facilitate effective regulation of the technology in the country.
Earlier, the director-general of NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, pointed out that the agency was working round the clock to ensure the completion and submission of the draft national biosecurity policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration and approval, adding it is also carrying out expert reviews of other regulatory instruments and possible validation such as 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 and we will be doing so much such as processing of biosafety applications, nationwide survey and tracking of GMOs and inspection of GMO farms, companies and research institutes, risk management plan and strategic development for protecting human and, animal health and the environment, template development for risk assessment, establishment of National Biosafety Management Agency data centre and integrated GMO monitoring system, participation in UN COP-MOP, among others,” he added.
Giving an overview of the agency’s achievement in 2020, Ebegba said it created the department of biosecurity, organised a national stakeholders’ consultative meeting, drafted a National Biosecurity Policy and the development of various sectoral documents among others.
A statement by the agency’s head of press and protocol unit, Gloria Ogbaki, said the NBMA boss, however, pointed out that despite the success stories, it is still bedevilled by challenges such as lack of befitting office space for its national headquarters, poor funding among others and appealed to the committee for assistance in tackling the challenges.