Following massive investment in the laboratory of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC, Nigeria has been chosen to be considered for Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) laboratory designation.
What it means is that all chemicals that are associated with weapons of destruction, both biological and chemical, can be tested in the NAFDAC laboratory.
Nigeria and Kenya are the only two countries in Africa so chosen for consideration by the global body.
This came to the fore when experts from the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, (OPCW) visited the NAFDAC’s central laboratory in Oshodi, Lagos on Thursday for inspection and assessment of facilities to be deployed for the global assignment.
Officials of OPCW based in The Hague, Netherlands, came with some experts on laboratory assessment from the Finnish Institute of Verification of Chemical Weapons Convention, (FERIVIN) based in the University of Helsinki.
Leader of the team, Dr. Roman Warchol, expressed satisfaction with the facilities provided by NAFDAC, saying they were comparable to whatever could be found anywhere in the advanced economy of the world. He said they came to Nigeria to assess the NAFDAC’s laboratory and see the level of competency, the equipment available for the possible designation of the laboratory.
“I’m very happy and satisfied with what I’ve seen here,” said the OPCW top official.
The ostensibly elated Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, explained that “we have been on this for about four years. Except for the COVID-19 period which really affected activities.”
She said, “We are going on proficiency testing and we have gone from ‘Participation’ to ‘Very Good’ which is the highest level in the OPCW’s assessment.”
The NAFDAC boss said she was excited because the experts from Hague and Helsinki were overwhelmed with the Agency’s facilities, adding that they were highly impressed by the competency of NAFDAC staff and the level of understanding.
“We did all our presentations. There were little or no questions. All we are now discussing is level of improvement, areas that we should improve to make it a bigger say. They were overwhelmed by the commitment of the Agency and the National Authority for Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention (NAC&BWC) in Nigeria, and the Federal Government to the project,” she enthused.
Prof Adeyeye further explained, “We are not at war, yes, but we are not only to be testing for Nigeria. We are not only going to be testing the samples that will be used in Nigeria. In Africa, we are only two sites, Nigeria and Kenya that are being considered for this. We will cover the West Africa and some parts of Africa and the world. Wherever there are skirmishes or the use of weapons, it might not only be war situation, NAFDAC could be invited to draw sample(s) and then test for the possibility of using harmful chemicals that could be lethal to people.”
In line with her mandate and to effectively cover regulations and control of industrial and laboratory chemical, Prof Adeyeye said NAFDAC undertakes the monitoring and control of chemicals through the Directorates of Chemical Evaluation & Research, Narcotics and Control Substances, and Laboratory Services (Food & Chemicals).
Going down the memory lane, she disclosed that on 23rd February 2018, the then Chairman, National Authority for the Prohibition of Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention (NAC&BWC), along with his delegate, visited the NAFDAC Central Laboratory, Oshodi to assess the facility on ground for participation in OPCW testing of materials associated with Chemical Weapons. In October 2018 we participated in the CCACT-097. The Agency has now improved to the score of Very Good in our last participation CCACT-15 in October 2022.”
She further disclosed that the Nigerian Federal Government through NAC&BWC provided an intervention fund in February 2020 valued at about N735m to provide various equipment for the laboratory, stressing that through internally generated revenue, more equipment pieces were added. Since then, the Agency had used her IGR to add more equipment pieces.
She said that the Agency will also expand the laboratory space for OPCW in the new building to be constructed soon.
“The assistance and contribution of the United Kingdom in assessing and improving the technical competence of laboratory in OPCW member States in Africa and Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC)GRULAC regions which we benefited has helped since 2021 to improve our performance and technical capacity,” she said, adding that NAFDAC staff have participated in the mentorship programme by Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention VERIFIN Helsinki.
Prof Adeyeye said this was done virtually until their physical training in February 2023. According to her, these efforts helped to improve technical ability of staff and their reporting techniques.
Due to importance of the OPCW project to the Agency and the efforts of the international partners, she said the oversight office was moved in January 2023 to Director General Office to underscore the importance for the country.
“We are highly indebted to the International Cooperation and Assistance Division, OPCW for facilitating the Memorandum of Understanding and implementing the assistance,” she said, adding that the National Authority has been proactive at endorsing NAFDAC’s application for CCACT-testing.
Prof. Adeyeye however assured everyone of the resolve of the Commission strive to obtain the OPCW- Designated status in no distant future.
FG to deploy 100 electric buses
President Bola Tinubu has said Nigeria is taking a significant step towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future by introducing a pioneering initiative to deploy a fleet of 100 electric buses.
The President spoke at a high-level meeting with stakeholders and investors on the Nigeria Carbon Market and Electric Buses Rollout Programme on Saturday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on the margins of the COP28 climate summit.
President Tinubu explained that the strategic initiative is aimed at significantly reducing Nigeria’s carbon footprint and modernizing the country’s transportation systems as part of a larger effort to position Nigeria and Africa as the pioneering frontier of green manufacturing and industrialization with a focus on natural gas as a transition fuel alongside other renewable energy sources.
To spearhead this transformative plan, the President announced the appointment of the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Zacch Adedeji, and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), Mr. Dahiru Salisu, to co-chair the Nigeria Carbon Market Activation Plan.
”This initiative stands as a testament to our dedication to environmental stewardship as clearly exemplified through our collaboration with the Africa Carbon Market Initiative. Our visionary plan is a strategic guidepost, directing Nigeria towards becoming an investment-friendly destination for carbon market investments.
”We recognize the imperative of fostering an environment that not only attracts investment but also upholds standardized and sustainable industrial practices. As a manifestation of our forward-thinking approach, we are actively looking to implement robust, enabling policies and frameworks that will serve as the catalyst for the burgeoning growth of the carbon market within our national borders.
”In further driving my commitment, I have recently approved an Inter-governmental Committee on Carbon Markets to be chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change to drive this visionary plan,” the President stated.
The President assured prospective investors that this initiative transcends being a mere pilot project.
”It is a concrete manifestation of our unwavering dedication to a carbon-neutral future. I assure you; this is only the commencement of our ambitious plans, with many more impactful initiatives on the horizon,” he said.
President Tinubu, while acknowledging the pressing need for a comprehensive global collaboration on climate-related challenges, called on global partners to join hands in accelerating collective efforts towards a net-zero future.
”As we unveil our initiatives, I challenge other nations to emulate our strides in mapping out their sustainable futures with a clear understanding that Africa is a beacon of innovative solutions to climate-related challenges.
”In this pursuit, we acknowledge the pressing need for comprehensive global collaboration, and we reiterate our commitment to being an active participant in international efforts.
”Nigeria’s plans for a greener and cleaner economy can serve as an inspirational narrative for nations worldwide. Our comprehensive approach, rooted in visionary leadership and pragmatic action supported by our technical partners, is poised to become a blueprint for countries aspiring to also develop and catalyze their markets for sustainable growth,” the President concluded.
In his remarks, FIRS Chairman, Mr. Zacch Adedeji acknowledged the visionary leadership of President Tinubu as the guiding force behind Nigeria’s commitment to harnessing its vast carbon potential.
At COP28, Sanwo-Olu seeks funding to address supply of clean water in Lagos
Governor of Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu has sought global support for funding in Lagos state to be able to provide clean water.
The Governor speaking at a side meeting with the theme: “Valuing Water: A Lifeline in Climate Transition”, organised by Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum and Sustainable Market Initiative at the ongoing 28th session of Conference of Parties (COP28) at Dubai Exhibition Centre pitched a sustainable funding proposal in order to raise private and philanthropic funding in addressing inadequate water infrastructure and supply shortages in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that Lagos, with 22 million population, has a daily demand of 700 million gallons of portable water, but said the State could hardly supply 210 million gallons per day due to shortage of infrastructure.
The Governor said, although provision of clean water had been generally considered a social service, it was an essential element of economic necessity, given its importance to keeping humans healthy.
Lagos, he said, is challenged by increasing demand for clean water. Sanwo-Olu said the inadequacy of supply infrastructure could raise disease vulnerability in underserved communities, pointing out that the State, despite being surrounded by abundant water bodies, could only manage to utilise 40 per cent of its installed water facilities.
He said: “Lagos has an investment of about $2.8 billion in water infrastructure, but there is a burden on the huge population, as we need to create an ecosystem where we can have access to basic needs in the 21st century. Given our meagre resources, it is really a challenge but we certainly cannot continue to give excuses. This gap is being felt by underserved communities and the risk to the public is high.”
“We have continued to allocate resources to this sector from our budget, but the intervention is hardly enough to serve the needs of the residents. Four years ago, I gave a commitment of $100 million, but this is like a drop, given the number of investments required to fully explore the potential in the sector. We have huge infrastructure that is not being utilised, making us to operate at less than 40 per cent of the installed capacity.”
“Out of the $1.7 trillion needed globally to address the gap in clean water adequacy, Lagos requires less one per cent of the funds to provide safe water. It is my belief that this conversation would lead to sustainable solution that would meet the needs of millions of people that want water adequacy. Our goal is making committed partners believe in economic viability of their investments.”
Sanwo-Olu listed the country’s energy crisis as another factor slowing down the provision of clean water, stressing that irregular power supply rendered resources allocated to the sector inefficient.
The Governor called for equity in global investment towards accelerating water adequacy, noting that humans, regardless of their gender and geographical location, need equal access to clean water.
With 65 per cent of its population made up of young people of under 30, Sanwo-Olu told the funders that Lagos remained an African asset on which viable investments could be made.
The side meeting, which was moderated by the Secretary General of Insurance Development Forum, Ms. Ekhosuehi Iyahen, had seven other panelists, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WaterAid, Tim Wainright, Chief Sustainability Officer of PepsiCo, and CEO of Dalmia Cement in India, Mahendra Singh.
Others are Chief Operating Officer of Water.org, Vedika Bhandarkar, Managing Partner of AquaForAll, Josien Sluijs, Assistant Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation at UN, Maximo Torero, and former CEO of Mars, Incorporated, Grant Reid.
COP28: Gov Eno joins President Tinubu in Dubai
Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency Pastor Umo Eno, is part of the delegation led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR at the ongoing COP28 climate conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Delegates from nearly 200 countries, leaders in business and finance, and representatives of civil society are gathering in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 for the COP28 climate conference, aiming to fast-track the transition to a clean-energy future.
COP28 stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), occurring annually.
Also in the President’s entourage are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Group CEO of NNPCL, Mele Kyari and the newly appointed Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo, among others.
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