FOR over a decade after its
establishment as an agency of
the federal government under
the Federal Ministry of Science
and Technology saddled with
the mandate of “promoting,
coordinating, and setting
research and development
priority in biotechnology for
Nigeria” in 2001, the National
Biotechnology Development
Agency, NABDA, remained one
obscure government parastatal
merely created among the
numbers. However, from 2013,
the vision, mission and mandate
of the agency came to the fore,
totally reinvigorated with the
appointment of Professor Lucy
Ogbadu as its Director-General
in November 2013.
Before her appointment, Prof.
Ogbadu was a pioneer and still
today the most senior staff of
NABDA, well equipped for the
job with a B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph. D
degrees in Microbiology.
Ogbadu, as also a UNESCO
certified Food Microbiologist
and Biotechnologist with
the wherewithal to execute
her mandate, revamped the
agency to a well-positioned,
international partner in an
era when the need for food
security has taken centre stage
in resolving crises.
Some of her outstanding
achievements prior to her
appointment as NABDA
include serving as a member of
the board of governors of the
International Centre for Genetic
Engineering and Biotechnology,
ICGEB, in 2005, during which
she succeeded in getting Nigeria
back as a member-nation of
the Nited Nations Industrial
Development Organisation,
UNIDO. She was equally
credited with the initiative
for the technology transfer
of the Temporary Immersion
Bioreactor System, TIBS, from
Tecnoazucar (now Azutecnia)
of Cuba into Nigeria for mass
production of elite plantlets,
which is now found in some
research institutions in Nigeria.
Ogbadu equally facilitated the
signing of a Memorandum
of Understanding between
FINLAY of Cuba and Nigeria
for Vaccine production.
She as well served the
agency in such other capacities
as the Director/Director of
Research, Food and Industrial
Biotechnology Department;
Director, Bioentrepreneurship
Department and Director,
Research and Development
Department.
Prof. Ogbadu’s professional
foresight in 2014 to NABDA’s
Molecular Biology Department,
in which the Medical,
Agriculture and Environmental
Departments were subsumed,
a situation she said was “at
variance with the fact that
application of molecular
techniques can be found in all
the other technical departments
of such as Medical, Agriculture
and Environmental,” to
undergo tremendous
restructuring, thereby creating
new departments which were
approved by the office of the
Head of Service to meet the
needs of modern biotechnology

in application of molecular
techniques.
The Director-General equally
displayed her expertise and
experience when she instigated
the passage of the Biosafety Bill
into law in April 2015, after 13
years of struggle, which now
paved the way for the practice
of modern biotechnology. Her
inspiration towards the success
of the passage of the bill was her
professional grasp that “without
a biosafety law in place Nigerian
scientists could not venture into
modern biotechnology practice.
Also in 2014, the Federal
Executive Council passed the
NABDA bill which had been i
dormant since inception of the
agency in 2001, with the bill
presently before the National
Assembly for passage into law.
This spurred Ogbadu into charting
a definite course of development
to meet the global biotechnology
trend, as she came up with the
NABDA five-year Strategic
Development Plan, which is
largely responsible for the great
achievements being recorded
presently in the agency.
With the purposeful leadership in
place, NABDA now boasts of stateof-
the-art facilities for research
in areas like DNA Fingerprinting
Service and Research; Level 2
Biosafety Laboratory; Vaccine
Research Laboratory; Aquaculture
Recirculating and Breeding
Facility; Aquaponics Facility for
Vegetable
Proximate Analytical
Laboratory; Refurbished Tissue
Culture/TIBS Facility; Semen
Banking Facility for Animal
Genetic Resources Research;
Microbiology Laboratory
for Starter Culture Research;
Upgraded Bioinformatics Training
Facility, and Bioenergy Analytical
Laboratory, with a promise that
“it is expected that within the next
one year plus, applaudable results
will begin to come out from these
facilities.”
Her resilience and vision
for the soaring of the agency
since assumption of office have
led to signing of Memoranda
of Understanding with
other institutions, including
collaboration with both local and
foreign institutions between 2013
to date, such as Federal University,
Otuoke, Bayelsa State; Niger
Delta University, Wilberforce
Island, Bayelsa; BIONEER, Korea;

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MOLISE University, Italy; Kogi
State University; MONSANTO;
ITSIBIO; CLINOTECH; STIRLING
University, Scotland, and Contec
Nigeria Ltd which is still being
worked on.
Her belief that a sane, conducive
and aesthetic work environment
contribute high morale boost in the
state and enhances productivity,
Professor Ogbadu embarked
paving the entrance to agency with
concrete embankment carrying
DNA structure embossment on
both flanks of the slope, while
about 10 hectares expansive
premises presently occupied by
the body has been moderately
landscaped with carpet grass,
ornamental trees lining the major
internal roads and administrative
building frontage, trimmed with
shrubs and floral writings.
In order to create more room
for staff office accommodation
for efficient performance, one
wing of the new administrative
building was made ready for
occupation, with the DG and
admin staff moving in early
in 2015. In addition, Ogbadu’s
administration saw the need to
check the encroachment of some
portions of NABDA’s previously
porous 76 hectares premises,
as it embarked on fencing the
premises with work expected to
be completed in 2017.
Being conscious of the role
of Internet facility to a research
establishment like NABDA, the
Ogbadu administration sought
the services of efficient internet
service provider and got every
building connected to Internet
managed by a newly created
ICT unit and every staff now
registered with institutional email
address. This, however, did not
stop the agency from acquiring the
essential electronic agricultural
library (TEEAL) facility, which
is a digital collection of research
journals for agriculture and related
sciences. This will make it easier
for NABDA researchers and other
stakeholders to access thousands
of full-text PDF articles through
the platform without internet.
With the glaring achievements
by the DG and her management
team, the World Intellectual
Property Organisation, WIPO,
through the Federal Ministry of
Industry, Trade and Investment,
has designated NABDA as the
first out of 11 proposed TISCs in
Nigeria. The centre, which was
commissioned by a Director from
Geneva office of WIPO in June,
serves to avail scientists and their
countries with the appropriate
information platform to enable
them derive maximum benefit
from their research efforts.
To check indiscriminate and
fraudulent acquisition of staff
identification card, NABDA under
Ogbadu acquired its own security
machine with which the Admin
Department now issues staff
identification cards. This was by
the creation of a maintenance unit
aimed at putting the engineers
and other technical staff at their
best for utmost productivity
and minimising jobs that were
previously outsourced. Staff
of this unit now handle minor
repairs on electricity, plumbing,
door locks, etc. and equally
take full charge of the agency’s
procurement/contract drawings
and documentation.
It is under the new Director-
General, since its creation, that
NABDA’s hitherto moribund
Bioresources Development
Centres, BIODECs, now
blossomed into 26 platforms
spread across the entire country,
from the pioneer BIODEC at Odi
to eight more by early 2013.
These centres, all of which have
been accorded Self Accounting
status, now engage in grassroots
empowerment through bioentrepreneurship.
Through her
vision, NABDA is also set to
develop the seven zonal centres
of excellence in the universities
to serve as platforms for hi-tech
research by university scientists
within the geopolitical zones, an
obligation that could not be met
due to paucity of funds before
her coming in. Her approach to
TETFUND resulted in securing
N125million released directly to
the centre in Kebbi for completion
of the building as well as
refurbishing the centre with stateof-
the-art equipment for modern
biotechnology research.
Not stopping there, the DG has
vowed to similarly revamp all the
other centres. “I have met with
the NUC Executive Secretary with
a view to pushing further for all
the remaining centres to benefit
similarly,” she said.
Meanwhile, about one year
after she took over the affairs of
NABDA, the agency became a
mecca of some sort for students,
mostly from the FCT and
northern parts of the country,
reaching as far as Taraba
State, receiving on the average
students from two institutions
every month on excursion.
Ogbadu hinted recently
that in accordance with the
domestication guidelines
developed from the Cartagena
Protocol drawn from the treaty
signed by Nigeria under the
Convention on Biological
Diversity, NABDA had
started Confined Field trials
of genetically modified crops.
She noted that it started with Bt
Cotton and presently into the
second year of trial, adding that
“we have equally applied to
NBMA to start Confined Field
Trial of Herbicide Tolerant soya
beans(HT soya bean) bringing
National Cereals Research
Institute, Badeggi on board
with us.”
On coordination and
promotion of Biotechnology,
she informed that, “In keeping
with NABDA’s mandate of
Promotion of Biotechnology
in Nigeria, we have brought
together research experts from
Universities and research
institutes to form a functional
network that can address
national goals beginning with
Animal Genetic Research
Network and Livestock
Genomics Network. Other
Networks will come on
board soon,” while adding
that a bioethanol production
plant established through
Public Private Partnership
in Ogbomoso had been
commissioned.
It was gathered that this
pilot plant produces 1000
litres of bioethanol/day from
agricultural feedstock.
Through the establishment of
an impactful public information
outfit of ‘Open Forum on
Agricultural Biotechnology,’
OFAB, the agency has
achieved a higher level of
public awareness on especially
agricultural biotechnology
across the country.
As a thoroughbred
professional, Professor Ogbadu
has not been limited to
representing the Honourable
Minister of Science and
Technology at various fora
at which she has given good
account of her professional
acumen, as she has also
at several occasions ably
represented Nigeria at various
fora outside the shores of the
country on biotechnology, with
a view to positioning Nigeria
to participate fully in modern
biotechnology.
Following her very credible
and well-documented outings
at international fora, as well as
her antecedents, as a mark of
recognition for Nigeria, Africa
and the erudite professor
herself, the board of governors
of the International Centre
for Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology unanimously
elected Professor Lucy Ogbadu
as its Vice President.

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