The National Biosecurity Policy committee, set up by the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba on Monday, presented its preliminary draft of the policy.
The DG, while receiving the document in Abuja, commended members of the committee for ensuring they met the given deadline for the submission of the draft policy.
Ebegba said the issue of biosecurity had become more emphasized with the emergence of the COVID-19, as the pandemic has also become a serious biosecurity issue all over the world.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that there is a need to have a National Biosecurity system that will meet world standards which will become a model for other Nations as we cannot wait for another Biological Agent to catch us unawares.
“There is a need for the country to be well prepared ahead of any future Biological threat.
He commended the National Assembly, NASS, and President Muhammadu Buhari for the speedy passage and assent of the 2019 amendment of the NBMA act 2015, which included the regulation of new and emerging technologies, such as gene editing, gene drive, synthetic biology and biosecurity.
“Biosecurity affects our health, the environment and distorts our economy as we have seen in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic which is a major pointer to the impact of Biological agents to human health, the environment and our economy,” he said.
According to the DG, the National Biosecurity Policy will be subjected to a national stakeholders’ review, after which it will be forwarded, through the Federal Ministry Of Environment, to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for approval.
Earlier, Chairman of the Committee and Director of Biosecurity Department in the agency, Miss Chinyere Nzeduru, gave an overview of the document.
She commended members of the committee for their efforts in ensuring that they met the deadline given to them by the DG.
Nzeduru said the document has 27 major thematic areas, which include institutional governance and coordination, border management, surveillance, preparedness and response, plant health, human health, animal health and veterinary services, bio-terrorism.
She added that other thematic areas, which bother on finance and human resource, such as finance and resource mobilization, human resources, monitoring and evaluation, among others were included “as they are key to the development of a strong and robust National Biosecurity Policy.”