…To also develop,begin courses on Chemical Security & Safety in secondary,tertiary education
…Over increase in smuggling of harmful drugs, narcotics
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE federal government is to immediately deploy the National Agency for Food, Drugs and Administrative Control, NAFDAC and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to all the nation’s airports, seaports, land ports to assist other border agencies in chemical anti-smuggling enforcement.
The government will also not only develop but also introduce Chemical Security and Safety course into the curriculum of secondary schools, tertiary and training institutions of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs in Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Education, FME,National Universities Commission, NUC,National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, among others.
The developments, which were the fallouts of the National Chemical Security Training Conference 2018,just concluded in Abuja, is sequel to the increasing cases of smuggling of harmful drugs, narcotics and other chemicals of concerns into Nigeria.
The five-day chemicals security training conference, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser, in conjunction with the Chemical Security Programme, CSP, according to a communique released at the end of the exercise, resolved that:”Considering the increase in cases of smuggling of harmful drugs, narcotics and other chemicals of concerns into Nigeria, it is agreed that NAFDAC and NDLEA should be deployed at the airports, seaports and other land ports in Nigeria, to work with other border agencies in chemical anti-smuggling enforcement.”
According to the communique,”Conscious of the need to enhance knowledge in identification of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, explosives and fertilizers on the part of the border agencies, it was agreed that the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, the Nigerian Immigration Service,NIS, Aviation Security,AVSEC and the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA personnel deployed at all land, sea and air border posts should be given awareness on explosives, accessories, drugs, narcotics, fertilizers and other chemicals of concerns.”
The conference which said it was aware that the current educational curriculum does not include chemical security and safety courses, agreed that the curriculum for chemical security and safety should be developed and introduced into the curriculum of secondary schools, tertiary and training institutions of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs in Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Education, FME,National Universities Commission, NUC,National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE among others.
” Considering the importance of certification and security vetting as a tool for regulating the downstream sector of the chemical industry, it was agreed that NAFDAC should ensure that only duly certified chemical practitioners, who are members of their professional bodies, are appointed as approved persons in chemical distributor companies, laboratories of secondary/tertiary educational institutions, including allied manufacturing industries in Nigeria,”the communiqué added.
Noting the safety and security implication of improper handling of chemicals, it was agreed that the Office of the National Security Adviser,ONSA should set up a committee comprising experts from the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, MMSD, Ministry of Agriculture, NAFDAC, Ministry of Transport, Nigerian Railway Corporation, NNRA, NPF EOD, NSCDC, CEDAN, FEPSAN, SON, Nigeria Chemical Society and other relevant Stakeholders to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the handling of hazardous materials in Nigeria.
“Conscious of the importance of human reliability in security of the chemical industry, it was agreed that all chemical, explosives, accessories and fertilizer handling companies should have human reliability program/training as an integral part of their company security policy,” it further said.
The conference,according to the communique,said:”Considering the importance of personnel data base infrastructure in the chemical industry, it was agreed that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development,MMSD and Ministry of Agriculture should automate the application processes for appropriate explosives and fertilizers permits as applicable in chemicals permit by NAFDAC for chemicals.”
“Concerned about the menace of drug abuse as a motivator for perpetrating violent extremism and other crimes, it was agreed that NAFDAC should expand the scope of its existing Federal Task Force on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs to address the menace of drugs/chemicals abuse and adulteration, including improper storage of hazardous chemicals in Nigeria.”
Other resolutions reached by the conference,according to the communique,were that:”Considering the importance of strategic communications in creating awareness on the use of chemicals, it was agreed that NAFDAC, MMSD and Ministry of Agriculture should develop security advisory on general outreach media for chemicals, explosives, accessories and fertilizers in Nigeria.
“The media should also carry the contacts phone numbers of the MDAs.
“Noting the importance of advanced information in checking the activities and chemical abuse by individuals and criminal elements, it was agreed that MMSD, Ministry of Agriculture and NAFDAC should work out modalities to introduce whistle blowing initiatives to curb the menace of chemicals, explosives, accessories and fertilizer abuse/diversion in Nigeria.
“Considering the importance of maintaining a unified database, it was agreed that NAFDAC, MMSD, Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant MDAs should compile and maintain a biometric database of all approved responsible persons dealing with chemicals, explosives and accessories, including farmers handling fertilizers in Nigeria.”