Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is screening the agency for a permit to produce COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria.
Adeyeye spoke at the stakeholders interactive session organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations in Abuja.
Represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr Fori Tatama, Adeyeye said that health, safety and environment-based issues were taken seriously by NAFDAC.
“The WHO is carrying out an audit of NAFDAC, which will enable the country to start manufacturing vaccines; the programme started since Monday and will last till Friday,”she said.
At the session, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, urged the lawmakers to speed up actions on the Operational Safety and Health Bill.
The Director, Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Mrs Lauretta Adogu, promised to ensure proper regulation of safety in work places.
“The Bill will seek to make comprehensive provision for operational health and safety in work and other matters.
“It also seeks to establish a National Council for Occupational Safety and Health and will address several important issues and widens the scope of legislation as the new Act will apply to all work places because we enforce operational safety and health in Nigeria,”she said.
Also at the session, the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR) said most accidents in gas and filling stations occur in unlicensed facilities.
The Head, Safety and Environment of the DPR, Mr Adeniyi Balogun, said it was a big challenge, calling on law enforcement agencies to collaborate with the department.
“What we have observed is that most of those accidents happened in stations that are not licensed by DPR.
“That is a big challenge for us; when we license a company, we make sure that a rigorous process is done to make sure you are qualified to do that operation.
“But we are doing our best in collaborating with law enforcement agencies to make sure we dismantle any such stations not licensed. The effort is ongoing,”he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Ibrahim Hamza (APC-Kaduna), said that the right to safe and healthy working conditions is a basic human right.
According to him, it is enunciated in Article 23 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and re-affirmed by Article 7 of the United Nations’ International Convention Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1976.
He said that the declaration had not received the required attention it deserves as most accidents and injuries at work places are largely due to disregard for safety measures and standard.
According to him, this Nation has witnessed incessant avoidable accidents resulting in deaths or injuries due to lack of effective monitoring and compliance to regulations.
“It is in this regard that the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, deemed it necessary and expedient to Constitute the Committee on Safety Standards and Regulations, with a view to further enhance the efforts of Government towards attainment of desired safety objectives in our nation Nigeria.
“The entrenchment of effective safety and health systems requires collective commitment and consultations between the statutory authorities, representative organisations of employers and workers, sectional regulators, and other relevant stakeholders, in a constructive manner that will ensure the objective of Government policies on safety are achieved,”he said.
Hamza said that the objective of the interactive session was to foster collaborative efforts and actions towards the task ahead.
The lawmaker said it was also for the purpose of updating the committee with present position of safety measures put in place by stakeholders, measures, actions taken so far, challenges and possible areas of legislative intervention.
He said that the committee solicited for their maximum cooperation towards ensuring that adherence and compliance to safety standards are greatly improved at all levels.