The Federal Government is taking steps to prevent use of chemical weapons for insurgency and militancy in the country.
Apart from banning unneeded dangerous chemicals from coming into the country, the government is also monitoring the use of dangerous chemicals needed for other legitimate use in Nigeria.
The Acting Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mrs. Yetunde Oni and the Permanent Secretary of Political and Economic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the NAC/BWC Office, Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose, disclosed the new move in Abuja on Monday.
They spoke during an international workshop on Assistance and Protection Against Chemical Weapons” organised by the National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Oni said: “You are aware NAFDAC is not solely meant for food and drugs alone, we also control chemicals. In a bit to do what is expected of us in ensuring the chemicals are used for the purpose for which they are meant, NAFDAC restructured and we established the chemical evaluation and research directorate. The onus is on this directorate to ensure that whoever is bringing in the chemicals is given a checklist.”
According to her, there is increasing evidences that chemical can contribute to health, environmental and security problems at various stages during their life-cycle from production, import and disposal.
Bamgbose said that the event seek to identify and bridge the gaps in the implementation of the Chemical Weapon Control and proffer improvement.
The workshop, he said, is also to evolve a National Action Plan to guide and regulate the use and threat to the use of chemical weapons in Nigeria among others threats.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Halima Ahmed warned the Federal Government against ignoring the possibility of the Boko Haram and Niger-Delta militants using biological and chemical weapons for terrorism.
She said: “ECOWAS is committed to ensuring that chemical and biological weapons threats are not allowed with the consequences of their usage in Syria and other parts of Middle Eat. On no account should Boko Haram insurgents and Niger Delta militants be allowed to have access to chemical and biological weapons in Nigeria or other terror groups in Africa.”
The Director General, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) represented by the Project Officer, Assistance and Protection of the organisation Esmel Oscar Meless urged the domestication of all legal instruments to prohibit usage of chemical and biological weapons in West Africa and Africa.