The Federal Government has approved a new National Biosecurity Policy for Nigeria in its bid to protect the environment, human health, and socio-economic development.
The Minister of State for the Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, announced the approval in a statement issued by her ministry in Abuja.
She was quoted as saying, “The Federal Executive Council has approved the National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan 2022 – 2026 to ensure, among other things, biosecurity for the protection of the environment and human health from harmful biological agents and to protect our socio-economic development.
“The policy document aims to foster an integrated and holistic biosecurity strategy that will be implemented through one-health approach for the prevention, early detection, rapid response to bio-threats and recovery from biosecurity incidents.”
Ikeazor added, “This policy is to ensure synergy and harmonisation among biosecurity stakeholders for effective and efficient operations of the national biosecurity systems.
“It is to ensure that all aspects of national and international agreement, conventions, guidelines and other instruments on biosecurity are duly taking into consideration.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had in July 2019 assented to an amendment of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act, 2015 mandating the NBMA to put measures in place to ensure biosecurity in Nigeria.
The National Biosafety Management Agency, in setting the stage for the implementation of the Presidential directive, and in recognition of the fact that biosecurity was a multisectoral discipline that cuts across several ministries, departments and agencies, convened a biosecurity stakeholders’ consultative meeting in January 2020.
This was to discuss and develop a workable national document and action plan to address all issues and concerns on biosecurity for the country.
The Federal Ministry of Environment stated that at the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that effective synergy among stakeholders and introduction of emerging methodologies would promote an efficient prevention, preparedness, response and mitigation system against any bio-threat.
The ministry stated in its statement that it was resolved that a National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan be developed.
“After going through several reviews, stakeholders validated the draft National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan in September 2021, before it was presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval,” Ikeazor stated.
She added, “We are very pleased with this approval in the environment sector, which gives the country a proper, comprehensive and workable document to tackle biosecurity issues and ensure that bio-threats are properly contained and even eliminated.”