In a resounding declaration of its mission, the director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha reaffirmed the agency’s unwavering dedication to securing food availability in Nigeria.
Mustapha reiterated this pledge during a recent training session organised by the agency for newly inducted staff members in Abuja. He emphasised that the journey towards a better nation remains incomplete without the comprehensive deployment of biotechnology tools.
Mustapha urged everyone to join forces as the agency seeks to intensify efforts to realise its vision of employing biotechnology tools to construct a nation where food and national security flourish.
The director of the department of agricultural biotechnology at NABDA, Dr. Gidado Rose expounded on the department’s focus and objectives. She emphasised that the department is devoted to utilising biotechnology to fulfil national goals related to food security, wealth generation and poverty reduction in Nigeria. Gidado outlined the department’s responsibilities, including research and development in areas such as crop improvement, crop production, crop protection and post-harvest and storage techniques. Addressing over 400 inductees, she urged them to contribute their best efforts to bring the agency’s mandate and vision to fruition.
Similarly, the director of the environmental biotechnology department, Dr. Gloria Obio highlighted the department’s core mission. She explained that the department strives to employ biotechnology responsibly to enhance the quality of life while remaining within the carrying capacity of the environmental support system. Obio outlined the department’s functions, including the development of bio-products for environmental remediation, curation of biodiversity and information databases and the establishment of bio-banking facilities.
Speaking on the contributions of the food and industrial biotechnology department, the department’s director, Dr. Lawal outlined how it aligns with the agency’s objectives. He described the department’s efforts to create an environment conducive to responding to the nation’s biotechnology needs in the realm of food and industry. Lawal underscored the importance of bridging research outputs with the marketplace to effectively deliver biotechnology products, emphasising the role of entrepreneurship in translating cutting-edge scientific results into tangible impact.
Meanwhile, the acting director of the genetics, genomics and bioinformatics department (GBD), Dr. Shakirat Ajenifujah-Solebo elaborated on the department’s activities. She emphasised that the GBD’s mandate encompasses modern genetics and bioinformatics research in its entirety.
The director of the medical biotechnology department, Dr. Bartholomew Ibeh conveyed the department’s purpose – to promote research and development in tropical diseases and emerging pathogens. The focus is on creating cost-effective preventive, therapeutic and diagnostic solutions, as well as unravelling mechanisms of disease for accessible healthcare delivery.
Concluding the event, the event manager of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Nigeria and head of the OFAB unit at NABDA, Mrs. Sarah Iweajunwa enlightened participants about OFAB Nigeria’s role.
She explained that OFAB Nigeria leads advocacy and awareness campaigns for the safe deployment of agricultural biotechnology products. The unit’s mission revolves around steering Nigeria towards food and nutrition security through consistent advocacy. Iweajunwa encouraged the new staff to actively join the campaign by educating their peers, families and extended networks about the safety and benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops. In her closing remarks, she reiterated the transformative power of biotechnology.