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Government to make public outcome of GMO complaints soon

By Marcel Mbamalu (News Editor) and Wole Oyebade with Agency report
15 June 2016   |   2:00 am
The Federal Government will soon make “ a statement” on the complaints by Nigerians on the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country, 
 the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development...

GMO

The Federal Government will soon make “ a statement” on the complaints by Nigerians on the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country, 
 the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Shehu Ahmed, has disclosed.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Abuja at the ongoing 2016 Agricultural Technical Training sponsored by the Chinese government that government is still investigating the issues relating to the use of GMOs and studying the complaints with the help of its experts and research institutes.

“We are still looking at it, we have received some complaints from the public, but we are looking at it.“Our experts are looking at it; our research institutes are looking at it.

We have not yet come up with a decision on that, we are still investigating, but very soon we will make our statement on that,” he stated.
NAN reports that GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering ‎techniques to achieve a certain result.

It further observed that genetic engineering is a technique for boosting agricultural production in commercial quantity and ensuring food security for densely populated countries.

Meanwhile, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) yesterday said it followed due process in issuing two permits to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited for the commercial release and placing on market of genetically modified cotton and for the confined field trial of maize.

The transparent exercise, according to the Director General of the NBMA, Rufus Ebegba, led to the posting of the permits on not only the agency’s website but also on that of the United Nations (UN).

Monsanto is a publicly traded American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Greater St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

A leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide, Monsanto has had a protracted role in engendering agricultural changes and biotech products and thus remains controversial, especially in some African countries where it tried to gain foothold.

Ebegba was reacting to an allegation by some groups that the permits were granted on a Sunday, a no-work day, and in less than transparent manner, especially in the face of the controversial debate on the safety or otherwise of introducing GMOs in Nigeria and other tropical regions of Africa.

He said what is playing out shows that there is ongoing trade war between agrochemical companies and the biotechnology industry.The NBMA DG noted that credible agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) were yet to find anything untoward about the products.