By Edwin Nwanojuo
The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to regulate animal biotechnology with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Speaking at the event held at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the Director General/CEO, NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba said the collaboration is very significant as the activities of the Ministry of Agriculture have grown our economy by leaps and bounds.
Dr Ebegba said “the MoU will give both parties the opportunity to build confidence, partnerships and bridges as the collaboration will be very beneficial to the enhancement of food security in the country”.
The DG pointed out that as the ministry in charge of agriculture in the country, they are familiar with the application of modern biotechnology in some aspects of agricultural practice and use of its products hence the need for NBMA to confirm the safety of these products.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammed Bello Umar, said the MoU will mark the onset of the much-needed collaboration to ensure that only approved animal GMO feeds are utilised in the country.
He said the collaboration between the NBMA and the Ministry through the Department of Veterinary Pest Control Services is apt and necessary to bring about the effective regulation of agricultural biotechnology.
Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr Olaniran Alabi, during his remark said the collaboration between the ministry and NBMA is important to manage and ensure that the use and application of GM animal products is properly regulated.
The objectives of the MoU include to ensure that all GM live stocks and their by-products comply with the provisions of NBMA ACT 2015, Biosafety Regulations, Biosafety Guidelines, and Animal and Disease Control Act and all other extant laws.
The NBMA also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Customs Service Board (NSCB), on effective regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their products at the border.
The objectives of the MoU include, to ensure that importers and exporters of GMOs and their products comply with the terms and conditions of NBMA permit, National Biosafety Management Agency Act, 2015, Biosafety Regulations, Biosafety Guidelines and other relevant extant laws. The MoU also provides for the impounding GMOs or their products imported or exported without biosafety permits among other.
As part of the agreement, both Parties shall involve each other in the review of all regulatory laws relating to Biosafety and ensure that areas of co-operation, monitoring of ports and borders are in synergy between both parties.
The MoU is expected to foster collaboration between the NBMA and the NCSB for the effective regulation of GMOs and their products. It is expected to reduce and eliminate the smuggling and piracy of GMOs in Nigeria through joint activities.