The Federal Government has cautioned producers, marketers, transporters, stores and users of chemicals, especially scheduled or hazardous chemicals against unlawful use and access by non-state actors or unauthorised persons.
Mr Gabriel Aduda, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who is also the Chairman of the National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, gave the warning at a sensitisation workshop in Kano on Tuesday.
The workshop was organised by the federal government to educate major stakeholders and industry players in the Northwest on sound management of chemicals as part of measures to prevent their getting into wrong hands while promoting peaceful use for enhanced safety and security of persons and the environment.
Mr Aduda said the workshop was also aimed at promoting awareness, security and safety, by strengthening the understanding of stakeholders on proper handling of chemical and biological solutions and reagents.
Chemical producers, marketers, transporters, storages and users, as well as regulatory authorities involved in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) participated in the workshop.
Mr Aduda said Nigeria is a state party to these Conventions. He added that “The objective among others was to raise awareness among relevant national stakeholders and representatives of the chemical industries in the North -West zone about the provisions of the CWC and the BWC on its national implementation in relation to the chemical industry.
“Ensure that chemicals imported into the country are used for the purposes for which they are meant and government through its regulatory agencies also makes sure that these chemicals do not get into the hands of non-state actors or unauthorised persons which could have grave repercussions on the citizenry or environment as they could be weaponised into IEDs or other explosive devices.”
The permanent secretary said similar workshops were held in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
Some of the participants who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) commended the federal government for organising the event, which they said had enhanced their knowledge on how best to handle chemicals.
They urged the government to evolve a National Action Plan to guide and regulate the use and threat of scheduled (hazardous) chemicals in Nigeria.