Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, has launched the National Biosecurity Policy and Action plan 2022-2026.
These policy initiatives and strategic actions is aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s commitment to the protection of national sovereignty, human and biodiversity security and the wellbeing of her citizenry.
At the unveiling and public presentation of the National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan in Abuja, Ikeazor said the policy would also explore improvement in the areas of infrastructure, technologies advocacy as frontiers to ensure prevention and preparedness to bio-threats.
The event was organised by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).
“Biosecurity is more important today than ever before due to the increasing threats of climate change which is altering the range, habitats and spreads of pests and diseases, globalization and industrialization.
“These issues 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” the Minister stated.
Ikeazor said adopting the One Health Approach is an integrated way to foster cooperation between environmental conservation, human health, animal health, and plant health sectors to prevent future outbreak of zoonotic diseases and safeguard human health and wellbeing.
“This national document has considered implementable strategic areas of focus which includes but not limited to human health, animal health, plant health, food safety, environmental protection, biotechnology and biosafety, biosecurity information and database, bioterrorism and bio-warfare, bio-threat risk assessment, boarder control and management, transport security, facility establishment and security, research and development and waste management.
The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency in Nigeria, NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said the Policy and Action plan would serve as a blue print for Nigeria in the area of Biosafety.
He noted that the policy would also come up with further emphasis for the country to achieve its aim of protecting its environment, human health and also ensuring that the Nigerian economy is strengthened and protected.
“In 2020 a stakeholders meeting was held to articulate how to implement the aspect of the NBMA amendment act and it was agreed that there was need for the agency to articulate National Biosafety Policy for effective blue print that would drive the country’s National Biosafety processes”, Ebegba explained.
The Acting High Commissioner of Canada in Nigeria, Mr Kevin Tokar, said Canada is very proud of its longstanding partnership with Nigeria to strengthen national and regional Biosecurity capabilities.
“While cooperation between Canada and Nigeria on Biosecurity goes back a decade, the critical importance of our collaboration has been underscored by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.