Barr. Richard Agu, Director, DG’s office (standing) presenting the DG’s welcome address to the NMC

Nigeria is in the process of adopting two International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published Standards on biotechnology for national use. The standards are;

  • Biotechnology-biobanking – General requirements for biobanking  (ISO 20387:2018)
  • Biotechnology-cell counting – Part 1: General guidance on cell counting methods (ISO 20391-1: 2018)

This indication was given by the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Osita Aboloma Esq. in his address to a meeting of the National Mirror/Technical Committee on biotechnology which held in Abuja recently.

Represented by a Director in the DG’s office, Barr. Richard Agu, the SON Chief Executive stated “As an evolving technology with variety of applications, biotechnology is an enabling technology that alone, or in combination with associated technologies, provides the means to generate giant leaps in the performance and capabilities of many different sectors. These include medicine and health care, primary production, agro-food, industrial production, energy and environment, as well as biotechnological production of chemicals”.

According to him, the ISO 20387:2018 on biobanking specifies general requirements for the competence, impartiality and consistent operation of biobanks including quality control requirements to ensure biological material and data collections of appropriate quality.

The ISO 20391-1: 2018 defines terms related to cell counting for biotechnology. It describes counting of cells in suspension (generally cell concentration) and cells adhered to a substrate (generally area density of cells), he said.

Aboloma charged the Committee “In addition to deliberating on the two standards for adoption, you also have the responsibility to mirror Nigeria’s position in the ISO TC 276, select new work item projects (NWIP) of relevance to the Nation and have your members in work groups of experts and stakeholders based on relevance and expertise in the field of biotechnology”.

He stated further that the outputs from Nigeria’s participation in the activities of the ISO TC 276 would facilitate technological development, support national and international competitiveness and contribute to the predictability of the regulatory environment. It would also support the exchange of goods and services through the elimination of technical barriers and support market access in Nigeria.

The SON Chief Executive stated further that as a Mirror Committee, the members would be responsible for establishing Nigeria’s position on issues relating to the activities of ISO TC 276, while as Technical Committee, they will undertake elaboration of national standards/adoption of International standards on biotechnology for use in Nigeria.

Commenting after his election as Chairman of the NMC, Dr. Joseph Okwori of the Federal College of Veterinary & Medical Laboratory Technology, Jos expressed the members’ preparedness to serve the Nation diligently with a view to leveraging on biotechnology standards for enhanced development.

He promised to be firm and fair in directing the affairs and urged members to express themselves freely towards achieving consensus on the draft standards for deliberation.

Commenting earlier, SON Group Head, International Standards, Mr. Dauda Yakubu stated that the establishment of the NMC was to ensure transparency, openness, impartiality, consensus, relevance and consistency in articulating Nigeria’s position in all Standards development activities relating to biotechnology, in line with SON’s standards development processes which is based on global principles of standardization.

He stressed that the NMC standardization activities should be consistent with the business plan objectives of ISO TC 276, and urged the Committee to draw up its own business plan and ensure that experts and relevant stakeholders participate actively in each work group (WG) to articulate Nigeria’s position.

NMC Chairman, Dr. Joseph Okwori (standing) addressing the members during the meeting.

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