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President Signs Biosafety Bill Into Law

President Goodluck Jonathan has finally signed the National Biosafety Agency Bill, which is a milestone in the domestication of modern biotechnology in Nigeria, into law.

Recall that the biosafety bill, sponsored by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) was initially passed by the 6th National Assembly in 2011 but was not assented to by the president and it became time barred.

Commending President Jonathan and members of the National Assembly for the quick assent of the bill, director-general of NABDA, Prof. Lucy Jumeyi Ogbadu, said it would allow for the safe application of biotechnology to boost economic development in Nigeria.

Prof. Ogbadu said, “Signing the biosafety bill is a milestone in the domestication of modern biotechnology in Nigeria. It is a giant stride that will allow the country to join the league of countries advanced in the use of this cutting edge technology as another window to boost economic development in Nigeria. It will create more employment, boost food production that will put a smile on the faces of farmers and elevate hunger.”

Highlighting the purpose of the law, Ogbadu said it is an act to provide for the management of biosafety and other related matters and it seeks to harness the potentials modern biotechnology has to offer under a legal regulatory regime; ensure environmental, human and socio-economic safety while harnessing the benefits associated with the practice of modern biotechnology and its outputs and exercise the sovereign right over all the nation’s natural resources and authority to regulate access to such resources, among others

A statement by the agency’s assistant director, Mrs Rose M. Gidado, said the passage of the bill will allow Nigeria to commercialize Bt-cotton, Bt-maize, Herbicide Tolerant (HT)-soya beans, which are already in South Africa, Burkina Faso and Egypt.
“This can lead to increased yield productivity to ensure food security and industrial growth especially in the ailing Textile Industries. It will also promote the quantity and quality of cotton that the Nigeria can export to other international countries,” it added.