Guidelines for regulation of stacked gene organism underway
The Federal Government has reiterated its readiness to develop a guidance document that will help in the regulation of stacked Gene organisms in the country.
In a statement from the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), the Director-General/CEO of the agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who disclosed this during a meeting on the development of a guidance document on risk assessment and decision making on GM plants stacked transformation events, in Abuja, reiterated the firm position of NBMA as a watchdog over the activities of modern biotechnology in the country.
“Stacked Gene organisms are nothing different from what we have had over times and the technology is a step further in the manipulation of genes of organisms for their intended benefits. It is a modification that has more than one gene in a particular organism.”
He also disclosed that the agency would soon start the process and pledged a reflection of expertise by the time the drafted guidelines would be ready for public use.
Ebegba assured Nigerians that only GMOs that have been confirmed to be safe by the regulatory body would be allowed in the country, as Nigeria is adopting safe technology that would enhance “our socioeconomic needs and also guarantee a prosperous economy, as a sign of keeping pace with the global efforts in economic diversification and the use of cutting-edge technology in driving economy-cum-agriculture specifically, for higher productivity and wealth creation.
“The previous guidelines developed have been tested to measure up to the global standard. The level of human resources in the agency is a thing to be proud of. The agency is blessed with the calibre of staff it has, and each and every one of them has been instrumental to the success story of the agency since inception. In the same vein, I honestly believe that the agency would have a template for the rest of Africa in no distant time.”
Ebegba also disclosed government’s resolve for training and retraining of the staff as a way of building more confidence in the system.
The country representative for Programme for Biosafety Systems, Dr. Matthew Dore, in his address recognised the unquantifiable effort of NBMA in its six years of existence.
While urging the NBMA to maintain its tempo in leading Africa in Biosafety matters, he also noted that the agency under the auspices of the minister of environment with the huge support of the government has achieved a lot and has made Nigeria proud among countries in Africa and beyond.
Director, African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE) AUDA-NEPAD, Dr. Jeremy ouedraogo, in a remark said the immense advantages of stacked genes makes it important to be adopted and properly regulated to ensure the smooth practice devoid of health threats to human health and the ecosystem.
He noted that science is based on proof and evidence, ‘’the regulation of this novel dimension of the technology would be based on concrete proofs.