15 August 2018

Nigeria: Violation of Biosafety Guidelines Attracts 5 Years Imprisonment

The Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Rufus Ebegba, has warned against violating biosafety guidelines and that defaulters risk being jailed for five years or a fine of N2.5 million.

Ebegba stated this recently in Abuja at an event organised by the agency to review and validate the biosafety guidelines.

"Although the guidelines are just to aid operations and not legal documents, however, they are linked with the Biosafety Management Act of 2015 and the act prescribes penalty for its violation.

"Anyone found guilty by the court will be sentenced to five years imprisonment or a fine of N2.5m, or both."

Dr. Ebegba said the guidelines were in the process of development over the past two years and had undergone intensive in-house assessment and critical review by stakeholders and needed final validation before being released to the general public.

According to him, the guidelines for review and validation include the NBMA Risk Analysis Framework which details risk assessment - a precondition for the release of any Genetically Modified Organism (GMO).

"The guideline aims to strengthen the enforcement system for proper regulation," he added.

The Director of Environmental Biosafety and General Release, Chinyere Nzeduru, said the biosafety risk analysis framework proffered solution on risk analysis and presented the guidelines to the general public and stakeholders involved in biosafety management.

Nzeduru said one of the key strategy documents in the guideline review was risk analysis framework, which explained the guide on how to deal with risk analysis.

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