Etta Michael Bisong
Stakeholders spearheading the adoption and development of modern biotechnology in Nigeria have called on relevant actors to facilitate the passage of the Biosafety Bill pending before the floor of the National Assembly.
This bill if pass, the experts said, will help transforms key sectors of the economy as well as empower the teeming youths who are still living without employment across the country.
Representative of the Biosafety Unit under the federal ministry of Environment, Mr. Rufus Ebegba, while making the appeal during an inter-agency meeting held in Abuja, stated that the passage of the bill will also help farmers adopt modern skills in food production, address land degradation and the incessant changes experienced in the climatic pattern.
“I want the National Assembly to see the passage of the Biosafety Bill as a matter of national urgency,” Mr. Ebegba said, “because Nigeria stands to gain a lot if this bill is passed.”
The law, he added, will also help tackle the issue of brain drain that has characterised the sector due to transfer of manpower to countries where their services are needed.
Hinting on the progress of the National Biosafety Framework Implementation Project, the expert noted that the implementing partners have develop various strategies including communications to properly engage constituted authorities, as well as the public on the importance of the law and revolution of biotechnology generally.
The director of Environmental Biotechnology & Bioconservation Department, Dr. Christie Onyia, who also spoke at the event, blamed the huge gap in citizens’ awareness as one of the impediments bedevilling the rapid adoption of modern biotechnology in Nigeria.
Dr. Onyia added that such information lacuna about the benefits of the technology to economic growth is one of the major obstacles that must be addressed to successfully guarantee food security, create jobs and increase the nation’s gross domestic product.
She urged the media to collaborate with other stakeholders to correct the public misconception and come-up with advocacy strategies to support the passage of the bill to effectively promote the deployment of biotechnology across the nation.