The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has emphasised that its regular public awareness campaigns on biosafety aim to counteract the misinformation surrounding its regulatory functions related to biotechnology products in Nigeria.
During a one-day public enlightenment programme titled “Nigeria Biosafety System,” organised by the NBMA in collaboration with RSA Global Investment Ltd. in Abuja, the director-general of NBMA, Dr. Agnes Asagbra explained the necessity of ongoing sensitisation efforts due to widespread misconceptions about the agency’s regulatory processes for biotechnology applications in Nigeria.
Asagbra, who was represented by the head of the agency’s planning, research and statistics department, Bello Scholastica emphasised that such training aligns with the agency’s mandate as a regulatory authority.
“In accordance with our NBMA Act and the Cartagena Protocol, we consider it necessary to educate the public on biosafety in general and our specific responsibilities. We are well aware that there is misleading information out there and the best source of information is the product manufacturer. Since the NBMA is the competent national authority for biosafety, it is best positioned to educate the public on this topic,” said Asagbra.
The project manager at RSA Global, Chef Noah McDickson, emphasised the significance of biotechnology in enhancing agricultural productivity and expressed the timeliness of the public sensitisation efforts.
“The public sensitisation programme is very timely, especially when it concerns biosafety, biosecurity, and biological issues. It is the right time to educate and create awareness among the people. It is the agency’s responsibility to disseminate vital information about biosafety to both urban and rural areas,” he added.
The director of communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Rev. Fr. Patrick Tor Harumuku spoke to journalists and stressed the importance of embracing agricultural biotechnology to improve food security.
“This programme is crucial for enlightening all Nigerians. Our population is growing and we face food security challenges. Biotechnology can enhance agricultural productivity and address the future needs of our nation. Ensuring food security is vital, especially as our population continues to grow,” he explained.
The sensitisation programme brought together various stakeholders, including religious leaders, government agencies, youth associations, women’s groups, farmers and NGOs, to raise awareness about biosafety and biotechnology in Nigeria.