NBMA assures Nigerians on safety of genetically modified products
The National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) has assured Nigerians of safe regulation of Genetically Modified (GM) products for agricultural development and environmental safety.
Director-General of the agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who gave the assurance at a one-day sensitisation workshop on Biosafety in Nigeria on Monday in Lagos, said that Nigeria possesses the institutional capacity and policy framework to ensure the application of modern technology, especially on agricultural production with the potential to accelerate food security and reduce import dependency.
Ebegba said the NBMA had not been resting on its oars in ensuring that only safe and approved genetically modified seeds and grains for food and feed processing are allowed into the Nigerian market hence, the constant upgrading of its GM detection and analysis laboratory and constant inspection of GMO facilities, such as confined field trial sites and multi-locational trial sites for proper surveillance, tracking and monitoring of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country.
He further gave the assurance that the biosafety system would ensure safety of the application of modern biotechnology to human health and the environment.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akinola Abayomi, who was represented by Dr. Mutiu Bamidele, also assured Nigerians on the safety in GMOs.
He said scientists had developed and released GMOs in Nigeria, including cotton and cowpea, noting that the technologies are now safer for human consumption.
ALSO, the Head, African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), Dr. Jeremy Ouedraogo, noted that the agency was known for its proactive initiatives, which have firmly secured Nigeria’s position on the global map regarding biosafety regulation.
Ouedraogo, represented by the Programme Officer, Modupe Adeyemo, also stated that the agency has earned the reputation of developing regulatory instruments and adopting processes that are informed by international best practices, which serve as reference resources across the world.
He, therefore, reiterated the agency’s commitment to promoting strategic partnership and providing appropriate support that will have a transformative impact in Nigeria and on the continent.