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Group seeks to nullify permits on genetically modified maize, cotton

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A group, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has urged the Federal Government to nullify the permits granted to some agencies to commercialise genetically modified crops.

The group’s Director, Nnimmo Bassey, made the call yesterday when he visited the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin in Abuja.

He urged the minister to repeal the Nigerian Biosafety Act 2015 and investigate the circumstances that led to the licences, despite the protest against it.

The group faulted the certification, which was granted to Mosanto and the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).

According to him, the Nigeria Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) was established as a regulatory agency and not to promote toxic chemicals in the country.

He lamented that the NBMA approved Mosanto’s proposal on BT cotton in May 2016, despite the fact that Burkina-Faso had in 2016 discontinued its use due to poor quality.

Bassey stressed that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had raised concern about the insertion of Antibiotic Resistant Marker Gene (ARMG) in the crops.

He argued that the particular ARMG ought to be used for field trial purposes and not in GMO plants meant for sale.

Bassey further queried the safety and environmental risk assessment of the GMOs, adding that the two bodies did not show how they would deal with secondary pests, exposure pathways and pests resistance.

A molecular biologist from the Oxford University, Dr. Ifeyinwa Aniebo disclosed that only America and Canada had adopted GMOs among the group of eight industrialised nations.

The minister urged the HOMEF to come up with statement of facts to enable the Federal Government address the issue.


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