Minister of State for Environment Sharon Ikeazor has said the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) policy was to secure the health of Nigerians and the immediate environment from biological threats, as well as sustain socio-economic development.
Ikeazor said this on Tuesday during the unveiling and public presentation of the approved National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan 2022-2026 which held in Abuja.
“We conceived a framework, through a legal mandate, to ensure the prevention, detection and rapid response to bio-threats,” she said.
Ikeazor noted that biosecurity was a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the policy and regulatory frameworks that analyse and manage risks of food safety, animal life and health, plant life and health, including associated environmental risk.
She said, “Biosecurity is more important today than ever before due to the increasing threats of climate change which is altering the range, habitats, spreads of pests and diseases, globalisation and industrialisation which are increasing the volume and range of products traded internationally, and the subsequent risks of invasive vectors, pests and diseases entering and establishing in Nigeria.”
According to her, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill amending the National Biosafety Management Agency Act (2015) in 2019 to include “putting measures in place to ensure biosecurity in Nigeria”, mandating the NBMA to coordinate issues of Biosecurity in Nigeria.
Ikeazor stressed that it was estimated that zoonotic infections, transmitted from animal hosts to humans, account for approximately 60% of total infectious diseases in humans, and 75% of all new and emerging infectious diseases.
In his remarks, Director-General of NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, said the policy was to protect human from harmful biological agent which were mostly not visible through physical eyes.
Acting High Commissioner of Canada in Nigeria, Mr. Kevin Tokar, said Canada will continue to strengthen biosecurity and health security capacities in Africa.