Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr.(Sen.) Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora has said that the establishment of the National Bioethics Committee (NBC) is the Federal Government’s efforts to assist United Nation, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the National bioethics of the country.
The Minister said this during the inaugural ceremony of the National Bioethics Committee, held recently in Abuja.
According to the Minister, the reason for establishing the National Committee is to safeguard the dignity, rights, safety and well being of citizenry, who sought assistance in the treatment of their health as well as researchers in health and other related fields.
He further hinted that all over the world, the National Bioethics Committee (NBC) has become an emergent requirement for the advancement in the field of Science and Technology which requires diverse and broad professional views as well as great public concern.
In this regard, Mamora said that the field of bioethics in Nigeria is new and complex one, with multi-disciplinary nature, hence will attract many organizations from diverse sectors.
The Minister stated that developed countries are also confronted with challenges of advancement in Science and Technology which eventually leads to diversity of values at different place and time respectively.
He therefore noted that irrespective of the level of development of a country, there is need to establish NBC in order to strengthen sound, informed, acceptable and adaptable policies for the good of the society and its citizenry.
To this end, Mamora commended the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), UNESCO and other stakeholders for their efforts in the establishment of the committee and enjoined the Committee members to perform their duties diligently.
Speaking, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu said that the challenge of bioethics in Government, health and pharmaceutical issues for citizens and other stakeholders is to create value with outcome of scientific research without violating existing moral and ethical values.
Adamu Adamu stated that the purpose of the Committee is to assist health care providers, hospital administrators, patients, families and the government by serving as a mechanism to develop, recommend and review with constitution standards, policies and procedures to bioethical issues.
In the same vein, the representative of the United Nation, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Mrs. Regina Priso said that Nigeria is a signatory to the 2005 UNESCO declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights which affirms that‘’ethical issues raised by rapid advances in the sciences and its technological advancement should be examined with due respect to the human dignity and universal respect for, and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms’’.
Earlier, the Director-General Prof of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, said that the quest to establish the National Bioethics Committee began fourteen years ago when the first National Bioethics Stakeholders meeting was organised in collaboration with UNESCO.
He therefore called for support of media organisations by Publicising the importance of Bioethics to the public for the desired research interest in the medical sector.
Atuora Obed O.