Former Director General/Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has advised biosafety professionals to keep an eye on the possibility of terrorists in the country resorting to bioterrorism to achieve their wicked objectives.
Dr. Dakuku, a turnaround expert, was speaking as the chairman of the annual conference of the Nigeria Biological Safety Association (NIBSA) held in Abuja. He appreciated the work being done by the association in building capacity for biosafety and biosecurity in medical science and laboratory practice, particularly in response to emerging diseases, noting that it is also important to look at other areas.
Peterside argued that biotechnology has applications in agriculture, veterinary medicine, industries, warfare, and the environment while stressing that the emphasis should not be on medical science alone.
He commended Nigeria for being among the few African countries with a regulatory framework for managing biosafety and biosecurity, in addition to being party to a number of international conventions.
The former NIMASA boss charged practitioners to collaborate with regulatory agencies and society at large to ensure the safe use of biotechnology applications as biosafety by its nature requires teamwork.
“We as practitioners owe ourselves, stakeholders, and society as a whole the duty of preventing and mitigating hazards associated with our work in handling biological materials.
“This responsibility extends to enlightening and educating citizens on the possible risks associated with biotechnology and handling of biological materials,” he stated.
He also advocated the deepening of biosafety in drug manufacturing, agriculture, and industrialization to boost the economy.
Equally important is the threat of the next pandemic, he disclosed, saying it is an added reason to build capacity as practitioners.
Dr Dakuku commended NIBSA for the good work they are doing and wished all participants successful deliberation at the conference.
At the conference was Dr. Oliver Manijart of Prolab, working with World Health Organization who joined online; Hon Daniel Nanbol of Plateau State House of Assembly, Representative of Dr. Adetifa Ifedayo of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Ahmad Waleed Joyan, Representatives of Federal Ministry of Health, Medical Laboratory Council of Nigeria, Nurses and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and Representative of Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.