Most practicing lawyers may have done everything to escape the jargons that made science unattractive in their school days.

But it seems the monster they feared may become the next attraction for them, as Lawyers in Nigeria are being told to take advantage of the legal tilt to biotechnology, a highly specialized field of science.

The Director General of Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA), Professor Abdullahi Mustapha who spoke on the benefits  that biotechnology could provide for legal practitioners in Nigeria during a Training Of Lawyers Workshop Organized By African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in Abuja said the practice of biotechnology is rife with complex legal issues that could turned into opportunities.

Prof Mustapha said, “The world of modern biotechnology practice is rife with complex legal issues, from obtaining regulatory approvals, liability issues, financial support to securing intellectual property rights and negotiating business agreements.

“However, navigating the legal issues surrounding biotechnology around the globe requires highly specialized knowledge in various legal areas. This has opened a new window for lawyers in Nigeria and Africa at large. And that’s Biotechnology law where Biotech Lawyers will emerge and of course they will be in demand.”

He said Biotechnology law is evolving quickly in a highly specialized field that stems from science and technology legal issues, adding that it is closely related to pharmaceutical law and focuses on resolving legal issues in the field of biotechnology. The issues may include compliance with biotechnology regulations and intellectual property protection, for example.

“In considering the use of these technologies, in particular, GMOs for food and agriculture, the FAO Panel of Eminent Experts on Ethics in Food and Agriculture recommended a comparative study of regulations concerning biotechnology, including GMOs, exploring the possibility and desirability of harmonizing such regulations,” the NABDA DG said.

He, however, stated that such regulations balance a multitude of interests and reflect the legal traditions of the countries concerned.

Prof. Mustapha said comparison of legislation of relevance can assist in identifying major trends and gaps, and in understanding the state of the current regulatory framework around the world.

“I believe part of what this training will consider will be the indication of the extent to which international agreements and a small selected group of national laws may already be assisting societies to realize modern biotechnology’s potential and avoid any potential risks,” he said.

He lamented the low level of public awareness on the biotechnology’s basic applications, terminologies, opportunities, utility and its safe use.



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