‘We’ll only allow safe GM products’
The Federal Government has promised to ensure that only safe genetically modified crops will be allowed to be cultivated in the country.
The Director-General, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, stated this at a one-day sensitisation workshop on ‘Genetically modified organism’s safety and regulation’ in Nigeria in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
Ebegba also said the agency would sure that only safe and approved genetically modified seeds and grains for food and feed processing are accepted into the country.
“The agency is not created to stop GMOs, but to ensure that citizens and the environment are safe from any adverse impact. The guidelines and policies will ensure that the products of modern biotechnology can be deployed safely in Nigeria.”
He noted that globally, safe science and technology had been known to be drivers of economic change and Nigeria could not afford to be left behind.
“We are very thorough in our dealings and before any approval is granted, the Biosafety Technical Committee would analyse, deliberate on the product and decisions are taken after careful analysis of the application,” he said.
Also, Head, Planning Research and Statistics, Mrs Bello Scholastica, said the objectives of the workshop included clarifying the role of the agency and broadening participants’ knowledge in science behind modern biotechnology in the world.
Bello argued that better understanding would promote confidence in their role in ensuring the safety of the product applications in accordance with international and national laws and guidelines, strengthen and broaden collaborations among stakeholders.
Contributing, AATF Regional Representative in West Africa, Dr. Issoufou Kollo, stated that there had been so much debate in Nigeria on GMOs, saying, “we have been in the middle of them to establish partnerships with institutions.”