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DG faults calls for repeal of National Biosafety Act

THE Federal Government has described as frivolous and most unpatriotic, the recent call for the repeal of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Act 2015.

It noted that heeding the call would bring lawlessness into the administration of modern biotechnology in the country.

The NBMA Director-General, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who made this known in a statement signed by the acting head of press and protocol unit, Ovuakporie Efe, noted that the processes leading to the actualisation of the NBMA Act predated 2002 and spanned over 14 years to get to its final state of enactment in 2015.

He observed that the NBMA Act had been adjudged by international watchers as one of the best in Africa after having painstakingly passed through stringent processes that lasted for more than a decade.

Dr Ebegba said such request was intended to render more than 20 indigenous research institutes, universities, agencies and private concerns that had competence in the biotechnology sector stagnant and redundant in a global sphere that was fast moving towards safe modern biotechnological advancement.

According to him, it was pertinent to advise that criticism be constructive with a view to improving Nigeria rather than carrying out a malicious propaganda to run down genuine government actions.

The Draft National Biosafety Bill, he said, was subjected to various stakeholders review within the six geographical zones in Nigeria and was passed by both the sixth and seventh National Assemblies

He said: “It is important to understand what Biosafety entails, especially as it pertains to the regulations of modern biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs.)

The DG urged all well meaning Nigerians who genuinely feel that a gap exists in the Act to be patriotic enough to collaborate with the agency in seeking the amendment of the knotty section instead of calling for a legal lacuna that would give room to anarchy in the modern biotechnology sector.