The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) of Nigeria inaugurated a committee for the drafting of the National Biosecurity Policy on July 14, 2020 in Abuja.
“The ultimate aim of this initiative is to have a healthy environment and healthy citizens so that the productivity of the nation can be properly harnessed and actualized”, said Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the NBMA. While inaugurating the committee, Dr Ebegba said “there are measures in place to ensure that Nigeria responds promptly to organisms that may pose a threat to our environment and human health”.
The DG reiterated commitment of the NBMA in developing a sound and holistic Biosafety and Biosecurity system in Nigeria and Africa.
The Head of the West Africa Office of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Head of the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), Dr Jeremy T. Ouedraogo, who together with his team joined the meeting virtually, commended the Agency and the DG for their commitment to Biosafety and Biosecurity capacity development both in Nigeria and Africa.
Dr Ouedraogo said the African Union is working with the World Health Organization to develop regional biosafety policies and platforms, for the implementation of functional regulatory systems across the continent.
He pledged AUDA-NEPAD’s support to Nigeria through the drafting process. “NBMA has a duty to serve West Africa and you are doing that very well. We will make our team available to support the drafting team in any capacity”, he assured. Dr Jeremy also congratulated the committee members and commended the DG/CEO for his leadership.
The Chair of the Committee and Director of the Biosecurity department of the Agency, Ms. Chinyere Nzeduru, spoke on behalf of members of the committee and thanked the DG/CEO for the confidence reposed in them. She gave the assurance that the committee will work expeditiously to develop the draft policy within the timeframe.
Immediately after the inauguration, the committee held an inception meeting to begin work on the national biosecurity policy with a view to submit a draft by the 17th of July 2020.