Saturday, December 2, 2023

NBMA DG Pledges Safe, Responsible Use Of GMOs

NBMA Press Briefing
The director-general, National Biosafety Management Agency. Dr. Agnes Asagbra (fifth from left) flanked by a cross section of journalists and agency officials during the press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

The newly appointed director-general of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Agnes Asagbra has expressed her commitment to fostering an environment where cutting-edge biotechnology and its applications can coexist harmoniously with the human environment, public health, and socio-economic needs.

Agnes, in an official media brief in Abuja, emphasised the rapidly evolving nature of biotechnology, highlighting the need for constant vigilance and a robust regulatory framework. She assured that under her administration, the NBMA will prioritise the safe and responsible use of genetically modified organisms and other biotechnological advancements.

“We will work tirelessly to bolster biosafety standards in collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Our aim is to establish a world-class regulatory system that instills confidence among citizens and investors alike,” Asagbra stated.

She further emphasised that as biotechnology continues to evolve, the NBMA will actively monitor and assess emerging technologies, adapting its regulatory framework to remain effective and up-to-date.

Calling for partnerships with national and international organizations, research institutions, and the private sector, Asagbra highlighted the importance of knowledge exchange and mutually beneficial endeavors to fulfill the agency’s mandate.

Asagbra also commended the efforts of her predecessor and the NBMA team, promising to sustain the agency’s laid-down legacies. Her leadership will focus on capacity-building, enhancing biosafety standards, transparency, public engagement, emerging technologies, as well as collaboration and partnerships.

Furthermore, Asagbra emphasised that her leadership will ensure the agency is proactive in adopting safe cutting-edge technologies. She also outlined the critical role and measures the agency will implement to ensure biosecurity and safeguard against potential bioweapons in the country.

Responding to questions about consolidating her leadership, Asagbra pointed out her experience as a core researcher in biotechnology, which will contribute to the advancement of good standard operating procedures and research validation, particularly in the agency’s laboratories.

Regarding the recent anthrax outbreak, Asagbra advised the public to stay away from animals affected by the disease and promote healthy hygiene practices to prevent further spread.

Asagbra’s commitment to safe and responsible biotechnology practices marks a significant step in ensuring the protection of the human environment and public health while harnessing the potential of biotechnology for the betterment of Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.

Omowumi Semudara
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