President Goodluck Jonathan has signed the National Biosafety Agency Bill into law, the Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, has said. In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday, Ogbadu said the bill was signed into law by the President on Monday. She described the signing of the bill into law as a milestone in the domestication of modern biotechnology in Nigeria, adding that this would allow the country to join the league of nations advanced in the use of this cutting-edge technology as another window to boost economic development. Ogbadu said:
“It will create more employment, boost food production that will put a smile on the faces of farmers and alleviate hunger if given good attention by the government. The National Biosafety Act is crucial in the management of modern biotechnology in the country.
“Modern biotechnology has been identified as an important tool that can help countries to achieve food sufficiency/food security, industrial growth, health improvement and environmental sustainability, while the Biosafety Act will give the legal framework to check the activities of modern biotechnology locally as well as imported GM crops into the country as well as providing an avenue to engage Nigerian scientists/experts from different fields to identify and pursue solutions to our local challenges.”
She listed the objectives of the law to include harnessing the potential of modern biotechnology under a legal regulatory regime; ensuring environmental, human and socio-economic safety, while harnessing the benefits associated with the practice of modern biotechnology and its outputs; and exercising the sovereign right over all the nation’s natural resources and authority to regulate access to such resources, among others.