FG tasks stakeholders on synergy to strengthen national biosecurity system
The Federal Government has called for synergy among stakeholders to produce a clear aggregation and unified efforts to strengthen the national biosecurity system. following the adoption of the nation’s biosecurity policy document for the protection of human health and the environment.
The minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, made the call in Abuja on Wednesday at a two-day validation meeting of the national biosecurity policy and action plan, stressing that stakeholders should play specific roles and work in synergy with each other in line with their respective mandates.
Ikeazor who was represented by Mallam Stanley Jonah, Director of Planning and Statistics in the ministry, noted that the adopted document was an integration of biosafety strategies in the country, adding that the sovereignty of the nation must be put first.
According to her, the document is expected to provide the framework for integration and harmonization of biosecurity strategies that would be implemented through One-Health Approach – Health, Agriculture and Environment.
“The resultant effect is to provide synergy amongst stakeholders involved in the biosecurity sector for effective and efficient operations of national biosecurity system aimed at minimizing the risks of bio-threats to humans, animals, plants and the environment.
“The world is witnessing a global rise in the number of emerging infectious diseases and invasive alien species which pose a significant challenge to biosecurity interventions worldwide.
“To address this, an interdisciplinary approach to biosecurity policy and research that enhances the interconnections between human, animal, plant, and environmental health to prevent and mitigate the impacts of these bio-threats is seen as the best way forward.
“In this regard, the present administration in its wisdom to foster the emergence of a National Policy and Strategy that encourages collaborative measures in addressing biosecurity issues in Nigeria, assented to a bill amending the National Biosafety Management Act, 2015 to include “putting measures in place to ensure biosecurity in Nigeria.”
The Minister also stated that the document would help in the prevention, detection and rapid response to bio-threats, taking into consideration Nigeria’s national and international agreements, existing national laws, Ccnventions and guidelines in relation to biosecurity.
Ikeazor said that the policy draft would be presented to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval.
Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director-General National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA, commended the efforts of all stakeholders and partners for their support to the process of drafting the policy document.
“It is because they believe in Nigeria, knowing what we are doing is not just to protect Nigeria but the globe as a whole.
“The issue of infectious organisms has no boundary, COVID-19 that shook the world has broken barriers in the areas of environment and human health,” Ebegba said.
The Director General stated that the agency owed the Federal Government the responsibility of discharging its duty with dedication and service to the country and citizens.
Also speaking, Prof. Garba Sharubutu, the Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Resource Council of Nigeria, assured NBMA of the council’s support, adding that implementation of the law was critical.
Sharubutu also said that the new radio station of the council would be opened to the agency so as to promote content on biosafety and biosecurity for the Nigerian audience.