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NBMA restates need to regulate emerging technologies

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Dr. Rufus Ebegba

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Abuja has called for strict regulation of new and emerging aspects of the application of modern biotechnology.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba made the appeal in a submission at the Public Hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat to amend section 43 of the NBMA Act 2015. He listed the new and emerging technologies to include gene drive, gene editing, synthetic biology and biosecurity.

“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 said.

According to him, the absence of regulation of these technologies might lead to a closed door on research and development and the immense contributions expected from these aspects in the country.

“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.

Ebegba told the Legislators that the need to regulate evolving technologies couldn’t be over-emphasised, since offence cannot be said to have been committed in the absence of law.

Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Obinna Chidoka said: “Our decisions will be guided by the need to do what is right for Nigerians.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara who was represented by the chief whip, Hon. Ado Dogo said the bill would strengthen and enlarge the regulation of the potential effects of the new technologies on human health and the environment.


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NBMARufus Ebegba
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