Agu Dawn, Abuja
The drafting committee for the National Biosecurity Policy has presented the preliminary draft of the National Biosecurity Policy to the Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba.
Dr Ebegba, while receiving the document in Abuja on Monday, commended the members of the committee for ensuring they met the given deadline for the submission of the draft policy.
The DG said the issue of Biosecurity was pertinent given the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic as a serious Biosecurity matter around the world.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that there is a need to have a National Biosecurity system that will meet world standards which will become a model for other nations, as we cannot wait for another Biological Agent to catch us unawares,’ Dr Ebegba stated.
‘There is a need for the country to be well prepared ahead of any future biological threat.
Dr Ebegba commended the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari for the speedy passage of the 2019 amendment of the NBMA act 2015, which included the regulation of new and emerging technologies such as gene editing, gene drive, synthetic biology and Biosecurity.
‘Biosecurity affects our health, the environment and distorts our economy as we have seen in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic which is a major pointer to the impact of biological agents to human health, the environment and our economy.’
He said the National Biosecurity Policy will be subject to a national stakeholders’ review after which it will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council for approval through the Federal Ministry Of Environment.
The Chairman of the Committee and Director of the Biosecurity department in the NBMA, Miss Chinyere Nzeduru, while giving an overview of the document, commended the members of the committee for their efforts in ensuring that they met the deadline given to them by the DG.
The Chairman said the document has 27 major thematic areas which include institutional governance and coordination, border management, surveillance, preparedness and response, plant health, human health, animal health and veterinary services, Bioterrorism.
Other thematic areas which border on finance and human resource such as finance and resource mobilisation, human resources, monitoring and evaluation, among others, where included as they are key to the development of a strong and robust National Biosecurity Policy.
The policy was handed over to the DG for further necessary action.