With the evolving trends in the expanse world of technology, reliable sources have revealed that the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba has pushed for the necessity of strict regulations of emerging aspects of applying modern biotech innovations on the 27th of March.
The NBMA boss opened up during a submission to the Public Hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat to amend section 43 of the NBMA Act 2015.
This outlined the new and emerging technologies to include gene drive, gene editing, synthetic biology and biosecurity.
Ebega said: “The NBMA supports the inclusion of the regulation of gene drive, gene editing, synthetic biology and biosecurity and other related matters in the NBMA Act 2015, since the use of their products and their practice is related to humans, animals, the environment and the economy hence biosafety measures need to be applied holistically. The proposed law is in tandem with international legal requirements in biodiversity conservation, taking into account human health,”
He further cited that the absence of regulation of these technologies could result into marginalization on research and development of innovative contributions expected from these aspects in Nigeria.
“We are mindful of the fact that safe science, technology and innovation are drivers of change and wouldn’t want a situation where Nigeria will become a dumping ground for their products,” he added.
Still stressing on the calls for regulation, the D.G explained to the members that the need to regulate evolving technologies cannot be over-emphasised, since offence cannot be said to have been committed in the absence of law.
Hon. Obinna Chidoka, the Chairman of House Committee on Environment and Habitat, also made it known to the press present at the occasion that the proposed bill will be constitute the emerging technologies as they are critical aspects of modern biotechnology which he feels will be an essential component of the NBMA law.
“Our decisions will be guided by the need to do what is right for Nigerians”. He said.
“It will also provide measures for effective public participation. The benefits of this inclusion is enormous as it will contribute to food security and ensure that Nigeria benefits from the safe use of these new technologies.
However, it is of importance to note that the Chairman house committee on Environment sponsored the bill for an act to amend the National Biosafety Management Agency Act, 2015 which seeks to expand the scope of the application and include other changing areas of the application of modern Biotechnology in the country with a view to preventing any adverse effect on human health and the environment; and for related matter.