From Agu Dawn, Abuja
The Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, formally presented zero draft National Biosecurity Policy to stakeholders.
The Minister, who made the presentation in Abuja today 10th DEC 2020, said the Zero draft National Biosecurity Policy has been developed with the full recognition of Biosecurity as a multi sectoral discipline, with all efforts geared towards a one health approach, collaborative approach and an understanding of the responsibilities of various sectors which include governments, NGOs, CSOs, communities and individuals.
The honourable Minister said ” to maintain Biosecurity, significant attention should be paid to strategies for the prevention and early detection of, as well as rapid response to, harmful and potentially harmful organisms.
She noted that to afford true protection, policies, regulations and management strategies must be implemented through a comprehensive approach adding that fragmented efforts, undertaken without corporation and coordination among agencies, will not suffice.
She commended the National Biosafety Management NBMA for the feat and for coming out with a document that will help guide the Nation in ensuring that harmful Biological agents are eliminated or controlled.
The Director-General officer of the NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba said the National biosecurity Policy is expected to help Nigeria to be ready to prevent or eliminate any harmful biological agent so it does not cause harm to human health and the environment.
Dr Ebegba said the NBMA has been given the mandate to ensure the Biosecurity of the country from treats that may arise from harmful Biological substances.
He expressed hope that at the end of the process Nigeria will have a very strong National Biosecurity Policy that will stand the test of time and will serve as a model for other countries to follow, noting that this policy when in place will help Nigeria to have a well positioned early warning signals of biosecurity treats and also adapt strategies to ensure that whatever will come is either prevented or its impact mitigated.
He said “at the end of this formal presentation, line ministries, sister agencies and stakeholders will be meeting from time to time to fine tune this document to meet our National aspirations. The issue of Biosecurity does not only affect human health and the environment, it also has a great effect on our national economy”.
Programme officer for the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Mrs Modupe Adeyemo in a remark said the presentation is critical as it offers the opportunity for incorporating considerable legislative, institutional and infrastructural change as a response to the dynamic scope of Biosecurity.
She reiterated the commitment of AUDA-NEPAD to promoting strategic partnerships and providing appropriate support that will have a transformative impact on the continent which in this case includes improved health and well-being of human populations being the ultimate outcomes of well functioning biosecurity systems.
Mrs. Adeyemo expressed hope that this historic step by Nigeria, will contribute to a sustainable and functional biosecurity system in the country.
The event had representatives from various Ministries , agencies, world health organization, civil society groups and other international stakeholders in attendance.