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Groups seek repeal of biosafety act

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Biosafety
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, has called on the Federal Government to abolish the Nigerian Biosafety Act, which seeks to legalise the adoption of genetically modified seedlings and food products in the country.

The Executive Secretary, Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), Revd Father Chika Onyejiuwa, who spoke on behalf of the group, warned that the Nigerian Biosafety law in its present form, was a recipe for the destruction of Nigeria’s ecosystem, food cultures and systems.

The coalition comprising Faith Based Organisations, farmers groups, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Non-governmental Organisations, made the call yesterday in Abuja.

The group said the biosafety law was more of biotech promoting than regulatory law, saying it was not in the interest of Nigerian farmers and the wider public, as it facilitates the introduction of GMOs on a massive scale.

Onyejiuwa said: “we strongly object to the release of genetically modified organisms’ in Nigeria, since we are convinced that GMOs are not the solution to hunger.”

He added, “Nigeria’s fertile land guarantees the nation food sovereignty. Consequently, hunger is due to bad governance, poor infrastructure for preservation and distribution of food and lack of adequate support to small holder farmers, who constitute over 70 percent of the farmers in Nigeria,”

He argued that the public hearing at the National Assembly did not meet the minimum global standard and best practices in a democratic society.

It restated, “The hearing was just a formality to create the semblance of a democratic process and skewed in favour of the GMOs Trans-National Corporations,” he added.

He urged government to introduce appropriate mechanisms and repeal the laws seeking to legalise and adopt GMO seedlings and food products and consequently marginalize Nigerian farmers.

Director of Health, Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey in his remark, asked government to reject applications by Mosanto to bring in genetically modified varieties of maize and cotton into Nigeria.

He also stressed that the nation’s agricultural systems, which include saving and sharing seeds, should never be tampered with.

According to him, “Our biodiversity is our strength and this critical inbuilt resilience will be lost, if we allow GMOs to erode or erase our heritage and destroy our soils and water with harmful chemicals.”



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