Chairman Senate Committee on Environment, Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has commended the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) under leadership of Dr. Rufus Ebegba for making greater efforts to secure the health of Nigerians and the environment despite low funding of the agency.
According to a release by Gloria Ogbaki, Head, Press and Protocol Unit of NBMA, Ekweremadu gave the commendation when he led the Senate Committee on Environment to visit the agency on an oversight function.
Ebegba was appointed the pioneer Director General (DG) of NBMA in 2015 and reappointed in 2019 as a result of his impressive record of achievements.
The former Deputy Senate President vowed to ensure that the needs of the Agency are adequately met, adding that his committee was prepared to work with the Agency in the bid to achieve its mandate of ensuring safety to human health and the environment.
Members of the committee also hailed the DG for his detailed presentation and his efforts in ensuring that Nigerians are safe from any adverse impact of modern Biotechnology and its products.
The Members of the committee visited the Agency’s GM detection and Analysis laboratory and commended the state of the art equipment they saw in the lab.
Speaking during the visit, the NBMA DG said the Agency is working round the clock to ensure the completion and submission of the draft National Biosecurity policy to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), for consideration and approval.
Dr Ebegba disclosed that the Agency is also carrying out expert reviews of other regulatory instruments and possible validation such as the National Biosafety Guidelines on Genetically Modified (GM) Fish, tree, birds, animals and mosquitoes.
He said: “The NBMA will continue in the bid to ensure that her mandate is delivered and we will be doing so much such as processing of Biosafety Applications, nationwide Survey and Tracking of GMOs and Inspection of GMO Farms, companies and Research Institutes, Risk management plan and strategy development for protecting human and, animal health and the environment, Template development for Risk assessment, Establishment of National Biosafety Management Agency Data Centre and Integrated GMO Monitoring System, Participation in UN COP-MOP, among others.”
While making his presentation on the overview of the NBMA’s 2020 activities, the DG highlighted the achievements of the agency in year 2020 to include, Creation of the Department of Biosecurity, organization of a National Stakeholders’ Consultative Meeting, drafting of a National Biosecurity Policy which was formally presented by the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor at a National Stakeholders meeting, among other very many and laudable feats which include development of various sectoral documents.
Dr. Ebegba said in spite of these success stories, the NBMA is still bedeviled by some challenges such as lack of befitting office space for its national headquarters, poor funding among others and requested the committee to assist and collaborate with the agency in finding solutions to the challenges.