The first stakeholders’ review of the draft National Biosecurity Policy and Action plan designed by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Environment has been held in Abuja, in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO).
Declaring the review meeting open, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, said: “Biosafety remains a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the policy and regulatory frameworks (including instruments and activities) for analysing and managing relevant bio-risks to human, animal and plant health, and associated risks to the environment.”
Represented by Dr. Lawrence Adigbe, Director, Human Resource Management, Ikeazor further stated: “Dear colleagues in the biosecurity sector, as you are all aware the success of this Policy review will lead to the implementation of an integrated biosecurity approach at national and sub-national levels. This will require the use of this document as a clear framework that defines the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, adequate technical and scientific capability (including use of risk analysis), a well-functioning infrastructure and system for communication and information exchange. You all may agree with me that under a competent coordinating authority, a unifying force which seeks to coordinate and take advantage of the synergies and complementarities of different roles and responsibilities will provide the impetus needed in achieving a biosecured Nigeria.”
The Director General (DG), NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba said: “The document does not only contain policy but also strategy and action plan, to ensure that there are responses, apart from being responses to threat, we must also be able to predict the likelihood of Bio-threat and also ensure that Bio-threat are averted.”
The WHO Representative at the review meeting, Dr. Zorro Philip, said his organisation would not hesitate to continue to offer the needed support to Nigeria in the development of its biosecurity policy document.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi who was physically present at the opening session of the two-day event, remarked: “We are very happy to come and contribute to the federal initiative because it is very important that Lagos State key from what the government is doing.
“We are also working with the West Africa health authority because of the nature of the State within the context of ECOWAS, and also following the activities in the Africa Union, WHO, and the United Nations, what we are doing here in the next two days is critical because it takes into awareness the environment, Agriculture, climate change, movement of people, conflicts, pesticides, and so on.”
Various organizations and institutions represented include the European Union (EU), Programme for Biosafety System (PBS), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, Civil Society Organisations, among others.
Different speakers at the event commended the NBMA’s DG, Ebegba, for the significant efforts he has made to meet the mandate of the agency since it was established in 2015.