By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Agnes Asagbra has said that the agency will resist any attempt to derail Nigeria’s progressive biosafety programme.
Dr Asagbra who was receiving the visiting Executive Director of AATF, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said that she will continue to collaborate with like-minded stakeholders in modern biotechnology to ensure that Nigeria’s leading position in the continent on biosafety is not compromised.
A statement signed by the Communication Officer,
AATF, Alex Abutu, made available to our correspondent yesterday, said that the Director General assumed duty on May 2nd 2023, following the retirement of Dr Rufus Ebegba, who served for eight years as the pioneer Director-General of NBMA.
“I understand the agitation on the minds of most stakeholders. Indeed, Dr, Ebegba laid a solid foundation in the regulation of Modern Biotechnology in Nigeria and Africa in general, Dr Asagbra said.
Dr Ebegba ensured that an adequate level of protection in the field of safe transfer, handling, and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology, she added.
“Under my watch, the Agency will not rest on these laurels or lower the standard already set. No, we will definitely strive to consolidate on all that has been put in place and strengthen the areas of weakness,” Dr Asagbra said.
She acknowledged the contributions of AATF to efforts which resulted in establishing one of the best biosafety regulatory frameworks in Africa.
Dr Asagbra emphasized that “the task of safeguarding Nigerians is not one to be done alone, I will need you to stand with us and lend your voice to our campaign for Biosafety and Biosecurity in Nigeria,”
She noted that the Agency has and will continue to ensure the safety of GMOs for humans, animals and the environment for economic benefit and will ensure holistic coordination of biosecurity in Nigeria.
Earlier, Dr Kanangire congratulated Dr Asagbra on her appointment as the DG/CEO of NBMA.
“As the Director General of NBMA, you are leading efforts to ensure the science-based management of modern biotechnology and its products in Nigeria. Your experience, knowledge and passion as a microbiologist will be invaluable to the mandate and achievements of the Agency,” Dr Kanangire said.
He noted that NBMA is one of the most respected biosafety regulatory institutions on the African continent and has effectively regulated the deployment of Pod-Borer Resistant Cowpea, Bt Cotton and Bt Maize which are life-transforming technologies as testified by smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
He promised that AATF willl keep working with NBMA to strengthen the biosafety system for the good of Nigerians and the environment.
About AATF (www.aatf-africa.org)
AATF is an international not-for-profit organization that is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities. Established in 2003 as an African-led entity, AATF works with public and private partners across the full food value chain to access, develop, deliver and commercialize innovative technologies that bring meaningful change to Africa’s agriculture. AATF is driven by the vision of a prosperous and food-secure Africa, one where millions of smallholder farmers can transform African agriculture with the same innovations that are transforming food production around the world. AATF believes the farmers in Africa will become globally competitive through the use of the best technology, optimal agricultural practices, strategic product value addition and boosted access to efficient markets within and outside Africa.