Nigeria develops Action Plan to curtail Bio-security threats
Zeniat Abubakar. Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Environment has developed an Action Plan aimed at minimizing threats to Bio-security in the country.
At a stakeholders meeting on the implementation strategies for the National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan 2022-2026, held in Abuja the nation’s capital.
Director General National Bio-Safety Management Agency, NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, stated that although Bio-Security threats have no boundaries, Nigeria would take necessary steps against harmful Biological Agents.
Dr Ebegba noted that Nigeria, as the major player in the World Health Organization issues has to be adequately protected from harmful biological agents.
“The issues of climate change will continue to make the issues of harmful biological traits eminent with the recent flood that plagues various communities in Nigeria, and I want to urge all ministry departments that have relationships in the area of health environment to go into the fields to survey and ensure early detection of possible threats from harmful biological agents. The imminence of epidemic is dead because the flood was devastating, which even zoom causes which means likelihood of outbreak of disease.” He stated.
Dr. Rufus Ebegba urged relevant stakeholders to take urgent action to ensure that Nigerians are safeguard from Bio- threats.
“Today’s meeting is very important, it marks the beginning of our collective interest to implement a National Biosecurity Policy that will help us to have a healthy awareness of a health secured environment and also to ensure that our economy is not as social fabrics are not distorted. It is important that will take this meeting very important and also ensure that will contribute our quarters. This meeting shall define various rules of stakeholders, Ministry Departments and Agencies we also want you to be attentive and also participate in it. One thing is clear if we do not stand together as a country, we can never win any battle outcome from the micro community. We will not allow any micro organism to threaten us again, so we must all stand together to work as a country.” He explained.
The Head Bio-Security Unit in the Agency, Dr Agha Ukepai said that the policy would be implemented through the One Health Approach, which involved the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Environment for the prevention, detection and mitigation of bio-threats, taking into consideration all agreements, Laws and Guidelines in relation to Biosecurity.
“We are now at the implementation phase having completed the policy development phrase, We are here to share ideas and facilitate discussions that would promote synergy and define our roles and responsibilities as we kick start the implementation of the Action plans” He explained.
He urged stakeholders to make concerted effort in doing justice to implementation process, while noting the implementable strategies that takes into account the protection of man, animals and the environment.
Representative of the WHO, Dr Laxmikant Chavan, said the WHO will work with the NBMA to support its Biosecurity policies through its interventions, in the areas of water sanitations, hygiene.
“We need to do our efforts to minimize the use of antimicrobials, we need to do the strategies and activities which are already there in your Biosecurity policy and action plan. Because Biosecurity means we need to reduce the anti microbial we need to do certain preventive measures so that the infections are not getting there to our animals, to the humans and all. So we need to do water, sanitation, hygiene. We need to do the vaccination. So these are some interventions we really need to do not only among animals, but also among humans shouldn’t be there. So the message is there are a lot of interventions we are prospecting and we as a who is a strategic partner with an NBMA and we have been working closely with NBMA we will continue our support and commitment. And we would like to really look forward the success of this particular meeting and we see that how we can support in future.”
President the Nigerian Society for Microbiology Professor Mohammed Yerima said that the society will continue to give its major contribution to support NBMA.
“I stand here to congratulate and Director General NBMA, for getting this policy documents approved by the Federal Executive Council, and today we are here to start the way forward for the implementation. We want to assure you that the Nigerian Society for Microbiology will continue to give its major contribution. We will continue to support you for the good work we are doing for Nigeria and Africa.” Professor Yerima explained.
Also the Nigerian Police Force also pledge its support to ensure that Nigeria remains a Biosecurity nation.
“We know that the fight for Biosecurity cuts across different stakeholders and we need law enforcement like we all know because even where we get offenders, clandestine laboratories, those involved in modifying agents, we know that we need law enforcement and that’s why the Nigerian police force is here to pledges its support, Biosecurity nation and of course congratulates the National Biosafety Management Agency of the giant strides.” IGP stated.
The National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan was developed by the NBMA under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and some international partners.
The document was approved by the Federal Executive Council on the 23 of December 2011 which aims at institutionalizing a coordinated Biosecurity system geared towards minimizing the bio-threats risks in Nigeria.