By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba has said that the NBMA Act 2015 was strong enough to ensure a robust biosafety system for Nigeria.
He said this at an interactive session with Clerks of relevant committees of the National Assembly Monday in Abuja adding that the Act establishing the agency was not cast in stone and that it is a living document that needs to be tested.
The meeting was organized to give Clerks, who are the engine room of NASS an opportunity to understand the role of NBMA in national development as well as enhance their capacity and understanding on biosafety.
According to Ebegba, the sensitization meeting for the Clerks was a very important session that would help to educate them on issues of Biosafety because they are permanent staff of NASS that advice the legislators.
“This interaction will help them to understand the Laws of Biosafety as well as to help the Agency to initiate amendment of the NBMA Act when necessary.”
He appealed to the participants to continue to exert expedient action on the need to rid the country of unapproved GMOs and ensure that the agency was properly positioned to police any attempt to turn the country into a dumping ground for unregulated GMOs.
In a presentation, the Clerk of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat, Mr. Eric Makwe narrated the processes of lawmaking in Nigeria and how Acts and other laws of the federation could be amended.
According to him, the Clerks play vital roles in the passage of bills adding that without vital information and understanding, the clerks will be handicapped when issues of biosafety surface on the floor of the Assembly.
NBMA Director, Environmental Biosafety and General Release, Ms Chinyere Nzeduru said that the role of the agency was to ensure that the practice of modern biotechnology does not pose any threat to human or the environment.
The interaction, which saw the Clerks visiting the agency’s GMO Detection and Analysis Laboratory, also witnessed the presentation of papers including one on emerging techniques in modern biotechnology and safety techniques by Dr. Mathew Dore, Country Coordinator, Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS).