NBMA lauds Buhari over assent to amended bill

THE Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for assenting to the National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act 2019 which would expand the regulatory scope of the agency.

The director made this known in a statement signed by the Head of Press Unit, Mrs Gloria Ogbaki Thursday in Abuja.

He said the amendment which was signed into law by Mr President would enlarge the scope of application of the act by including emerging aspects of modern biotechnology and biosecurity in Nigeria.

According to him, the NBMA amendment bill which was initiated by the House of Representatives in 2018 was passed by the 8th National Assembly into law.

“The assent by President Buhari will empower NBMA to put in place measures to ensure Bio-Security in the country with a view to preventing any adverse effect to human health and environment.

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“Due to the emergence of new technologies, Nigeria cannot be left behind in checking if these technologies are safe for humans and the environment

“It is the mandate of the Agency to ensure that modern biotechnology and its products are safe.

“The agency has been on its toes in ensuring that unapproved genetically modified crops either grain or seed for food and feed is not allowed into our market and with this new amendment, the agency will work hard to ensure that Nigeria is a safe haven.

“We shall police and regulate the practice of this new and emerging technologies as much as possible so that our country does not become a dumping ground for unsafe products,” he said.

He said the amendment had expanded the scope of regulation of NBMA, adding to its mandate as contained in the NBMA act 2015 to provide a regulatory framework to adequately safe guard human health and the environment.

“From potential adverse effects of modern biotechnology and genetically modified organisms, while harnessing the potentials of modern biotechnology and its derivatives for the benefit of Nigerians to include the areas of synthetic biology, Genome editing, Gene drive and biosecurity,” he added.