‘We don’t want Nigeria to be dumping ground for GMOs’
The Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, has said the agency will not let the country become a dumping ground for unregulated genetically modified organisms.
He said this while receiving a team of Ghanaian scientists in Abuja, and explained that the agency was not established to stop the use of the products, but rather, to see that such science and technology would not pose threats to human health, the environment, animals and plants.
He said: “In the field of genetically modified organism regulation, Nigeria has set a model for the African continent as the global economy today is driven by innovations and it is time that citizens key into it by ensuring that safety measures are put in place for the deployment of the technology.
Ebegba added that the Ghanaian regulators’ visit to the agency was towards understudying the Nigerian biosafety system and putting in place regulatory policy documents and guidelines that would ensure safe activities.
He, therefore, recognised the importance of regulating modern technologies by relevant authorities in Ghana, calling for collaboration with their Nigerian counterpart on the need to strengthen regulations in Africa as stipulated by the law establishing the agency.
“The need for the Ghanaian government to extend the scope of the regulatory framework to capture the new emerging technologies, such as gene editing, gene drive, and synthetic biology cannot be overemphasised,” he added.
Earlier, the team leader, Dr Emmanuel Marfo, who is a member of the Parliament in Ghana, re-echoed the position of Nigeria as a role model for the African continent, saying, both countries have a longstanding relationship, and working together on biotechnologies would boost the economies.
Also, the chairman of the Ghanaian National Biosafety Authority, Prof. Charles Boasiako, lauded the efforts of Nigeria in regulating the biotechnology space.