Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency, says the review and validation of the agency’s guidelines will strengthen its operations.
Ebegba made this remark at the stakeholders review and validation of the agency’s guidelines on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that the exercise was to ensure that its operations were in conformity with domestic laws and international best practices, adding that it would come with obvious advantages.
He said: “Over the past two years, we have been developing sectorial guidelines to enhance the effective operation of the NBMA acts.”
Ebegba stated that the review and validated guidelines would also help employees and those dealing with Genetically Modified Organisms to remain in tune with international best practices.
He said: “The guidelines, among other things, will provide stage-by-stage process in the certification, handling and processing of permit for genetically modified organisms in the country.”
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the review and validation will cover Administrative Manual; Risk Analysis Framework; Communication Strategy, National Biosafety Emergency Response and Inspection Guidelines; Biosafety information; and Laboratory Manuals.
Chinyere Nzeduru, Director, Environmental Biosafety and General Release, while presenting the review on Risk Analysis Framework said that NBMA was established in conformity with national and international laws, as well as procedures and rules that govern the safe adoption and use of modern biotechnology practice.
According to her, this is with a view to preventing any adverse effect on human health, animals, plants and the environment.
Nzeduru said: “Bio-safety regulation of modern biotechnology and GMOs is very crucial for safety assurance and confidence building.
“The NBMA Act 2015 is the only safe value for the adoption of modern biotechnology and the deployment as well as use of GMOs for socio-economic development in Nigeria.
“And the development of human and infrastructural capacities had been pursued vigorously by the agency, seeing it to be critical to safe modern biotechnology development in Nigeria.”
Nzeduru said that the agency would continue to develop and maintain professional standards in the field of bio-safety.
During the presentation on NBMA Communication Strategy, Gloria Ogbaki, stressed on the need for proper and effective communication among stakeholders.
Ogbaki said: “This is therefore not the time to get bogged down with fears, inconsistencies and lethargy and Nigeria cannot afford to stand aloof or be left behind in this fast growing world.”
She said that bio-safety communication strategy would require all stakeholders to effectively pass on their messages as regards the issues of bio-safety foods, backed by credible scientific evidence.
She said: “Debates and arguments going on out there among the public surrounding GMOs are caused by a lot of misconceptions.”