The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) in conjunction with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology (ICGEB) is organising a 4 day training workshop for regulators in Biosafety matters.
Over 40 participants drawn from 6 Africa countries which includes the host country Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Burkina Faso and a Team of facilitators from South Africa, Australia, Kenya and Italy are attending the workshop.
The key objective of the training is to train regulators on risk analysis for the general release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in order to expose them to global best practices.
Director-General of the NBMA Dr. Rufus Ebegba noted during the opening that such collaborative efforts is very key in the general assessment of GMOs.
According to him, the large turn out at the workshop is an attestation that Africa is yearning for more collaboration in the harmonization of GMOs.
He started that the workshop further point at the value of coordination between Experts and Regulators in pursuing safety in the release of genetically modified organisms.
“The workshop is to encourage and build adequate capacity among Africans to be able to handle GMOs effectively”.
He further said “although we are relatively young in this area, we are nevertheless very vibrant and are giving Nigeria and the rest of Africa hope in analysing the risks and safety measures involved for the general release of GMOs for commercial purposes”
He also said that the interest of Nigerians is paramount to the Agency hence the Agency is working tirelessly with relevant agencies to ensure safety in modern biotechnology activities.
Earlier, Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) Prof. Lucy Ogbadu noted that the training workshop was coming at the right time to counter the myths surrounding the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms.
She said Nigeria is going through turbulent times in the hands of those opposed to the adoption of modern biotechnology in the country.
She therefore canvassed the support of the media to widely publicize the outcome of the workshop to assure Nigerians that the safety of GMOs is critical to other Africa countries in particular and the world at large.
In his remarks, Prof. Paul Keese said that biotechnology will help the world address the problem of food security and to be able to do this there is the need for the modern biotechnology to be carried out in a safe mode.