Nigeria signs amended Biosafety bill to include gene drive, gene editing, synthetic biology, bio-security
President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019, with a view to preventing any adverse effect to human health and environment in the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on the National Assembly (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
Enang said the bill amended the National Biosafety Management Agency Act No. 20, 2015 to enlarge the scope of application of the Act by including the emerging aspects of modern biotechnology and biosecurity in the country.
The amended bill seeks to cover gene drive, gene editing, synthetic biology and bio-security and related matters.
According to him, the Amendment empowers the Agency to put in place measures to ensure Bio-Security across the country.
The amended bill reads below:
AMENDMENT OF THE NATIONAL BIOSAFETY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT, 2019.
AN ACT TO AMEND THE NATIONAL BIOSAFETY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT, 2015 TO ENLARGE THE SCOPE OF APPLICATION OF THE ACT BY INCLUDING THE EMERGING ASPECTS OF MODERN BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOSECURITY IN NIGERIA WITH A VIEW TO PREVENTING ANY ADVERSE EFFECT TO HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AND FOR RELATED MATTERS.
ENACTED by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows –
1) AMENDMENT OF THE NATIONAL BIOSAFETY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT, 2015.
The National Biosafety Management Agency Act (in this Bill referred to as the “Principal Act”) is amended as set out in this Bill –
2) AMENDMENT OF SECTION 3
Section 3 of the Principal Act is amended by –
- inserting a new paragraph “j” as follows –
- “put in place measures to ensure bio-security.
- re-numbering the existing paragraphs (j) – (q) as paragraphs (k) – (r).
3) AMENDMENT OF PART VII
Part VII of the Principal Act is amended by inserting a new Section 25A
as follows –
25A. Application of gene drive, gene editing and synthetic biology
“No person, institution or body shall carryout gene drive, gene editing and synthetic biology except with the approval of the Agency”.
4) AMENDMENT OF SECTION 43
Section 43 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following definitions in alphabetical order –
“Biosecurity” includesmeasures to prevent, respond to and recover harmful biological substances or genetically modified organisms that may threaten the health of humans, animals, environment and the economy.
“Gene drive” means a genetic engineering technology that can propagate a particular suite of genes throughout a population by adding, deleting, disrupting or modifying genes. Gene drives can only spread from sexually reproducing parents to their offspring.
“Gene editing” means a type of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism.
“Synthetic biology” means the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign of existing natural biological systems.
5) SHORT TITLE
This Act may be cited as the National Biosafety Management Agency (Amendment) Act, 2019.
(This memorandum does not form part of the Bill, but is intended to explain its purport)
This Bill seeks to amend the National Biosafety Management Agency Act, 2015, to enlarge the scope of its application to ensure the regulation of gene drive, gene editing, synthetic biology and bio-security and related matters.