As part of measures to further guarantee the safety of Nigerians through the implementation of biosecurity and biosafety measures, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).
The MoU is aimed among others at exploring avenues towards reducing the risk of unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins or their accidental release (biosafety) and reducing the risk of unauthorized access, loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release of valuable biological materials (BVM) to tolerable, acceptable levels (laboratory biosecurity).
Speaking at the signing of the MoU in Abuja, the Director General of NBMA Dr. Rufus Ebegba reiterated the need for greater synergy among government ministries, agency and parastatals to ensure the achievement of set objectives in the Nation’s overall interest.
According to him, the signing of the MoU with SON is to ensure proper analysis and regulation of genetically modified organisms to ascertain that there are no risks to Nigerians before they are commercialized.
Dr. Ebegba enumerated that NBMA was established to ensure that the practice of modern biotechnology that resulted in GMOs was safe for both humans and the environment in Nigeria.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Director General, SON Mr. Osita Aboloma represented by the Director, Legal Services, Mr. Umaru Kawu stressed that the agency will put to effect the provisions of the MoU through standards development and quality assurance activities.
He advocated for greater involvement of NBMA personnel in the Technical Committee meetings for the development, adoption, adaption and review of Standards especially with respect to GMOs. “This MoU is a good one and I am happy to learn that NBMA has entered into similar collaboration with other government agencies towards ensuring the effectiveness of its mandate” he said.
The MoU with SON was the fifth that the NBMA has signed with sister agencies in the bid to ensure that genetically modified products are safely deployed for the benefit of Nigerians.