Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma has said the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has delivered on its targets in line with its mandate of ensuring that modern biotechnology practices and its products are well used and deployed safely in Nigeria.
The Minister said this yesterday in Abuja at the Opening Meeting of Experts of Biosafety for the Validation of the Preliminary Draft Regulations on Biosafety in West Africa.
The Minister said foremost amongst these delivered targets include, laying of an effective administrative and institutional background for modern biotechnology regulation in Nigeria and establishment of a top class regional GM Detection and Analysis Laboratory.
He said safe modern biotechnology has proved to be that solution which will ensure that the people, farmers, entrepreneurs, and the economy succeed within the region.
While expressing joy that Nigeria is the first in the world to develop a genetically modified cowpea which has been granted approval for commercial release, he said, “I think we as a sub-region have every right to feel proud of these achievements which have moved us to the realization of proving to the world that Africa has all it takes to ensure safety in the deployment of modern biotechnology and its derivatives.”
Speaking, Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba who chaired the technical session, said West Africa is setting the pace on matters of Biosafety as this regulation document is a new initiative that other African countries will in time copy from.
He said “Africa has the capacity but needs to strengthen this capacity to meet emerging trends in this sector.”