FG partnering WHO, others to develop robust national biosecurity policy


Photo: Environment Minister Mohammed Abubakar

Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) says the agency is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant organizations towards developing a robust national biosecurity policy before the end of this year.

Ebegba made this known  on Tuesday in Abuja during the second national review meeting of the draft national biosecurity policy and action plan.

While commending the World Health Organization for supporting the agency right from the beginning, he noted that the  Federal Government saw the issue of national biosecurity policy as a major national assignment.

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“We will work with our partners to have a robust national biosecurity policy that would meet our national aspiration and also meet world standard.

“We are hoping that by the end of the year it will become our national policy on biosecurity.

“We all owe this country a responsibility to ensure that this document comes out sound, meeting international best standard.

“The agency will meticulously ensure that the proccess of review under the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Federal Executive Council takes a critical look at it and take decision.

The Director General said that the issue of biosecurity had become a global issue, adding that the outbreak of various diseases was as a result of infectious organisms.

“The issue of biosecurity does not recognise boundaries. The world must stand together to ensure that infectious organisms are properly contained,” he further said.

Ebegba therefore urged stakeholders to see national biosecurity policy as a major national assignment that would go a long way to minimize the risks of biological threats, improve human health, agriculture and environment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it will support NBMA to complete its policy document on biosecurity that would set out guidelines for regulating chemicals used for biological organisms.

In his remark, Dr Philip Zorro, WHO representative, expressed hope that before the end of the year, the policy document would be completed and presented to the Federal Executive Council.

Zorto urged stakeholders to work together to ensure the ultimate goal of making the document a working one so as to be internationally acceptable.

“So, all over the world, people from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Agriculture, come together under one health approach to ensure that human beings are protected from all the bio-threats and biohazards.

“WHO will continue to support the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that the policy document is completed before the end of this year, and become a working document”, he said.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, represented by Mrs Bolanle Ajayi, while declaring the review meeting open, said the ministry was working in collaboration with NBMA to develop the policy to meet international best practices.

“This is an achievement that will be credited to collective consciousness to safeguard our ecosystem from threats arising from intentional or unintentional use of valuable biological materials,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary thus urged other developing partners to join hands with NBMA to ensure safe human health, agriculture and the environment.

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