Biosafety management ‘ll boost economic growth – DG

The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba said that the agency is well equipped to ensure the proper regulation of modern biotechnology in the country.

Ebegba who was speaking at the 5th National Biosafety Conference organized by the agency in collaboration with the Nasarawa state University, Keffi, added that the NBMA was established to serve as a safety gauge for the practice of modern biotechnology in Nigeria and ensure the technology is utilised for economic development.

The theme of the conference was Biosafety Management in Nigeria: Panacea for Economic Growth and Development.

The conference attracted participants from universities all over the country, civil society groups amongst others.

He stated that modern biotechnology is a powerful tool which needs adequate regulation in harnessing its benefits to ensure safety to human and animal health, and the environment, hence, the United Nations came up with Protocols to address the potential adverse effects that could arise from application of the technology and use of its products.

The DG highlighted the activities of the agency, as well as its achievements, stastating that the agency will ensure that biotechnology contributes positively to our national economy.

He stressed the need to translate knowledge into production, job creation and economic growth; noting that the Agency was working on calling a Stakeholders’ meeting to strategize on how to address the new areas included in the Agency’s mandate.

Earlier in his remarks,  the Vice Chancellor of Nasarawa State University, Prof. Suleiman Bala Mohammed commended the DG for bringing the conference to the Institution, saying it is consistent with the university’s mandate to facilitate cross fertilization of ideas.

He said products of modern biotechnology are controversial due to lack of proper communication and understanding, he therefore charged the biotech agency to step up its awareness campaign and ensure Nigerians fully understand the benefits that the technology has to offer.

Representative of the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hadija Sabo Jemita, stressed the need for increased awareness of the Agency’s mandate, as well as aggressive media campaigns to counter non-scientific and ignorant views of biotechnology and biosafety.

She recommended that biotechnology should be introduced early in schools to ensure that people understand the concept right from the beginning.

Also speaking, Hon. Commissioner of Environment, Nasarawa State who was represented by Chammang Atinuke commended the Agency for the good work going on to ensure safety in harnessing the benefits of modern biotechnology and its derivatives.

She also commended the Agency for applying the Precautionary Principle in achieving its mandate.

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