Nigeria deploys genetically modified cotton, maize despite safety concerns

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The National Biosafety Management Agency has issued two permits for the Commercial Release and Placing on Market of genetically modified cotton, and the confined field trial of maize, to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited.

This move came despite concerted efforts of many Nigerians (comprising 100 groups of farmers, faith-based organizations, civil society groups, students and local farmers) to prevent the introduction of genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize into Nigeria’s foods and farming system.

Ibrahim Jibril, the Minister of State for Environment, had also promised that “Nigeria would not mortgage the safety of its citizens by introducing unproven products into the country”.

The two permits are: “Permit for Commercial release/ Placing on Market of Cotton (MON15985) genetically modified for lepidopteran insect pest resistance’ with Permit No: NBMA/CM/IM/001 and ‘Permit for Confined Field Trial (CFT) of maize (NK603 and MON 89034 x NK603) genetically modified for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance’ with Permit No: NBMA/C FT/001.

They were signed by NBMA’s Director-General, Rufus Ebegba, on May 1.

Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, described the development as “extremely shocking”.

“This is little wonder officials of NBMA, National Biotech Development Agency (NABDA) and their pro GMO train have been fighting tooth and nail to fool Nigerians by claiming that GMOs are safe,” said Mr. Bassey, whose group is among those at the front line of the resistance.

“They approved the poorly concocted applications and issued these permits on a Sunday when government offices do not open. In fact, 2nd May was also a public holiday.”

According to Mariann Orovwuje, Food Sovereignty Campaigner, several main areas of concern had been identified regarding objections to the release (and placement in the market) of GM Cotton and confined field trial of Maize in Nigeria.

“There are serious concerns and they include amongst many: health concerns, environmental concerns, socio-economic concerns, technical and administrative concerns, molecular concerns, safety assessments, environment risk assessment, secondary pests and insect resistance and many more concerns have been extensively laid out in our submissions to NBMA objecting to Monsanto’s applications.”

In the objection to Monsanto’s applications, the concerned Nigerians stated in its application MON 15985, that Monsanto was using genes referred to as cry2Ab2 and cry1Ac, which produce Bt toxins that have been synthetically manufactured with no history of safe use in nature.

The insertion of the antibiotic resistant marker gene (ARMG) causes concerns regarding the potential transfer of antibiotic resistance to other living organisms, according to the groups.

This concern, which was dismissed by the applicant, had been raised by a scientific panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stating that this particular ARMG should be restricted to field trial purposes and should not be present in GM plants to be placed on the market – unfortunately this is what NBMA has released into the Nigerian market.

The groups also complained that there is no baseline data regarding the quantity, spread and use of cottonseed meal/cakes/oil used for human or animal consumption in Nigeria, and therefore no foundation for the assessment of food and feed safety.

Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, a consumer, said NBMA’s decisions were “grossly faulty”.

“The claim of the agency is shocking when it claims that in arriving ‘at this decision the National Biosafety Management Agency took into consideration the advice of National Biosafety Committee National Biosafety Technical Sub-committee and public views… The Agency was convinced that there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity taking into account risk to human health.’

“The agencies they consulted are in the business of promoting these toxic and risky GMOs in Nigeria. We do not also know which public NBMA consulted.”

The NBMA Act of 2015 is defective, according to Mr. Bassey, because its governing board is filled with GMO promoters such as NABDA and the Biotechnology Society of Nigeria.

“Those GMO promoters are concerned with ensuring the profit of biotech entrepreneurs rather than the health and environmental concerns of Nigerians,” he said.

“A case in point is that NABDA, a member of the Board of NBMA, is a co-sponsor with Monsanto of the application for the field trials of the GMO maize.

“We are also appalled that an agency saddled with defending Nigeria’s biodiversity is actively promoting these risky technologies.”

NBMA approved Monsanto’s proposal for Bt cotton when the cabinet of nearby Burkina Faso was announcing, on April 14, their goal to reduce the acreage for genetically modified cotton this season until it’s completely phased out in 2018 and replaced by conventional cotton.

The decision was reached amidst concerns that GMO cotton yielded shorter fibres, resulting in economic loses.

NBMA approved the glysophate herbicide resistant maize despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer report that linked the active ingredient glyphosate to cancer.

“It is no surprise that nations like Sri Lanka, amongst others, heeded and took action by banning Monsanto’s round up herbicide because of its link to Kidney disease,” Mr. Bassey said.

“That NBMA is considering giving us this ‘trojan horse’ gift is indeed unfortunate knowing the low level of use of protective gears by our rural farmers and communities living close to farms.

“References used in support of claims made by Monsanto are too old and none referred to the two GM maize events specifically but are general references for normal maize research.

“This may be due to the lack of thorough scientific peer-reviewed research carried out in support of the claims made in the application, or is a deliberate effort at hiding information. We note that no details of feeding studies whatsoever were provided by the applicant.”

The case against Monsanto

On May 26, 2016, a St. Louis jury ordered Monsanto to pay $46.5million in damages for negligence in the production of polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs.

This case, which went on trial April 28 2016, involved three of nearly 100 plaintiffs claiming that “exposure to PCBs caused cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

While a number of plaintiffs had died as a result of the cancers they developed from the toxic PCBs, their claims were made by surviving relatives.

The suit claims that Monsanto knew about the dangers of PCBs decades ago, but gave false testimony and scientific information to the public saying it was safe.

Further damaging evidences pile up against indicted Monsanto: A trial in Redlands, California in May 2016 on the dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup reveals that “it is not only glyphosate that is dangerous, but also chemicals listed as inert ingredients.”

A high court in Paris had punished a high ranking official representing Monsanto’s interests for deceitfully covering up research data proving that Monsanto was hiding toxicity of its own corn.

The information showed that it could promote neuro-developmental disabilities including autism, attention-deficit, disorder, dyslexia and other cognitive impairments affecting millions of children worldwide and seem to be increasing in frequency.

“It is a mark of utter recklessness that NBMA would rush to issue approvals for GMOs to be released in Nigeria less than a year of the NBMA Act coming into force,” said Mr. Bassey.

“We demand that the permits surreptitiously issued to Monsanto on a platter of gold without regard to the concerns of millions of Nigerians should be revoked immediately.

“We also urge that the recently enacted National Biosafety Agency Management Act should be quickly repealed to prevent NBMA from running amok with GMOs and flooding our country with these risky organisms.”


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  • TC

    How did Monsanto get to Nigeria???? hoping all their plans fail terribly. Leeches….

  • Ben

    Anti GMO Alarmists

  • emmanuel kalu

    This is very bad for the country. People across the world have being fighting GMO because of its massive danger and the fact Monsanto has lied numerous time about it product. I am pretty sure that someone got bribed and failed to do their job. maybe it is time for the senate to get involve and pass a law banning GMO in Nigeria.

    • Watch man

      I’m glad you got it right. Heavy bribery is what Monsanto has been using to have its way in all the countries it has entered. The offer is so watery that our Nigeria authorities could hardly resist even to the detriment of the masses.

      • Yetunde Kolawole

        Your comment is very very understandable. Because you are being paid to do this, you believe everyone else is being bribed. When something becomes a pattern with someone, it becomes difficult for them to believe that not everyone does the same thing.

        • Watch man

          Like I wrote before, come up with your intellectual facts so that you may convince your readers. The fact that you seem to be a Monsanto agent is also quite understandable but unfortunately very unpatriotic. Come up with facts; at least I have put up something which can easily be verified. Come with yours Monsanto.

          • Yetunde Kolawole

            Do you know for instance that almost every reasonable person in this world does not take people who hide their identities serious?

            Like I guessed earlier, you are most likely the same person that fed the reporter the story and are looking for someone else to regurgitate material you have been given to help distribute. Next, you will send a link to your funders to show how you ‘argued’ in their favor. More alerts go enter your account… Premium Times will be non the wiser, and Nigerians will be fooled even more. Abegi, no be today

          • Watch man

            What you wrote lacked intellectualism. It is superior argument that wins in a debate. Where are your facts to dispute what I wrote. We hear that facts do not lie. Where are your facts?

          • Yetunde Kolawole

            Unfortunately Mr Bassey, I have no business trying to debate anything with you and never said I had that intention. Your continued insistence that I enter into a debate only supports my theory above that you are looking for an opportunity to copy and paste more of the material you have opened in front of you so that you can justify your pay.
            Sadly also for you, no one else is engaging you so you are gradually getting frustrated that the only opportunity is not playing your game.

          • Watch man

            You are not comfortable with what I wrote because of your involvement with Monsanto. Fine! I have asked you to counter what I wrote and the best way to do so is to puncture my facts/data with yours. When you do so, you can leave the rest for any reader to investigate and judge. So, I still insist that you have not made any intellectually, scientific point to disprove what I wrote. Where are your facts in favor of your principal, Monsanto? By the way, I am not Bassey neither do I know who you are talking about. Your facts on the subject please.

          • Yetunde Kolawole

            Lol. Now I know for a fact that it is you.

            I can also see vividly how you are trying to call up a couple of people to join you on the thread. That strategy even won an election in Nigeria but seriously you don’t need that here. I have no interest in arguing with you because I have no other interest other than being pissed when I see a clear amateurish attempt to manipulate the media and the interactive sections of websites to a pre-determined goal.

            So, very comfortable I am, but you on the other hand are wondering how to justify how you lost your narrative.

            My candid advise?

            Keep taking the money. Those giving are not complaining. No need trying to convince anyone you generated what you posted above.

            My show just came on. Enjoy the rest of the evening.

          • Watch man

            Lol! I thought you would have at least elated your principal by puncturing my facts. At least that would have justified the fees they are paying you. Or don’t you think so? Anyway next time please argue intellectually, present your strong reason/facts so that you may justify your principal’s investment in you. Enjoy your evening too!

          • Yetunde Kolawole

            Wake up Bassey The Watchman. Someone has been asking you to engage him in the ‘debate’ you are so fixated upon, for the last five hours. The opportunity to earn your pay has finally presented itself and you are still asleep?

          • Awizi

            A man with evidence is never at the mercy of man with an argument. Can you please present your facts ? he has every right to be Anti-GMO and you have a right to be pro-GMO. He doesn’t have to be paid to be concerned about the health of his family and his nation. I hope you are not a Troll paid by Monsanto.

          • Watch man

            Hello Mrs Bassey, hope you were watching from the audience as the debate was going on. I comment and stand by what I believe except I find a reason, cogent reason to shift. Thanks for the opportunity of acknowledging that I am capable of standing up to what I believe.

          • RobertWager

            Having read the whole thread, what are you claiming to be facts?

          • RobertWager

            I am willing to debate.

  • oliver

    this is evil,the beginning of cancer and other sickness in Nigeria.if this government those not want me to switch to PDP,i demand that they immediately halt this G.M.O killers

    • Ben

      GMO has been confirmed to be safe by numerous scientific studies. What can kill is hunger, overpopulation and famine and definitely not technology

      • Watch man

        With due respect I disagree. Kindly read my submission above (or below depending on how you configured your device) and let me have your thought. Then we can perhaps discuss. Thanks!

      • Awizi

        Scientific studies sponsored by who ? Monsanto ? Technology doesn’t kill really – really ? You know what, we all have a choice. Please let’s have labeling on these products. It should be clearly stated what is GMO and what is organic and let everyone choose what they want for their families. The worst thing that can happen is a compromised regulator who has been paid to fulfill a sinister agenda.

  • Otile

    Ifa Orunmila a gbe yin oo. This kind of genetic engineering can cause Ebola Ear Infection sha.

  • Watch man

    I knew that it was just a question of time before Nigeria authorities would bow to corporatocracy. GMO is never and can never be good for human beings. U.S., right from Reagan administration has been in the forefront of encouraging genetic modification. As many may know, genetic modification of a plant or organism involved a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one specie are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal to alter their genetic makeup in such a manner that is not possible through ordinary plant or animal reproduction.
    The most important foundation that has been responsible in financing biotechnology has been the Rockefeller Foundation. Without passing through the parliament, George Bush, in a 1992 executive order, ruled that GMO plants and foods were “substantially equivalent” to ordinary plants of the same variety, such as ordinary corn, soybeans, rice or cotton. With this ruling, the Bush administration and successive ones treated GMO or bio-engineered foods as “natural food additives”, and therefore not subjecting them to any special testing. In most cases, govt agencies took data provided them by GMO companies in order to judge that the new product was fine.Now, it is important we site an example of the hazard poised by GMO. The first GMO food marketed en mass was milk that contained a recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone known as rBGH and was patented by Monsanto. The FDA approved it without testing to know how healthy it was. It was sold under the trade name of Posilac and Monsanto claimed that cows would produce up to 30% more milk if injected with this hormone. While stimulating cows to produce more milk, Posilac stimulated the production of another hormone known as IGF-1, which began to unnaturally regulate the cow’s metabolic processes. Dr. Samuel Epstein of University of Illinois’s School of Public Health, a recognized authority on carcinogens was among the first vocal scientists to warn about scientific evidence that IGF-1 was linked to creation of human cancers. In addition, farmers began to report (after using Posilac on their cows) that their cows burned out by as much as two years sooner; this is in addition to the hoof or udder infections that came upon the cows as a result of the usage of rBGH. But FDA suppressed this info by presenting the data they got from Monsanto. More info from scientists even countered FDA position. A scientist from University of Vermont in 1991 leaked to the media the evidence of severe health problems affecting rBGH- treated cows to include mastitis, inflammation of the udder, and deformed births. You see, GM companies have had their way in this matter due to their collaboration with govt. For instance, George Bush’s Agriculture Secretary, Ann Veneman, came to Washington in 2001 from a job as director of Calgene, a biotech company that became a subsidiary of Monsanto. Defense Secretary Donald Rumfsfeld was CEO of G. D. Searle. Searle is the subsidiary of Monsanto that produces GMO-based artificial sweetener and carcinogen known as Aspartame. Rumfsfeld had also been the Chairman of Gilead Science, a California biotech company that had patent on Tamiflu. Mickey Kantor, former U.S. Trade Rep and lawyer to Clinton, left govt to pick up a position on the board of Monsanto. There are many more and this had been the trend till date. This is why it has been difficult to check the activities of global corporations.
    Like I commented elsewhere, this kind of science fits into the depopulation effort of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation and Syngenta Foundation who are mopping up over one billion types of natural seeds and depositing them in a seed vault close to the North Pole (Svalbard) and dishing out GM seed to the world especially the developing countries. Bill Gates, who has spent $30m on this project since 2006 said, “The world today has 6.9 billion people and that’s headed up to about 9 billion. If we do a really great job, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent”. The idea is to deprive the world of vital seed necessary for procreation and healthy living. GM seeds have sterilization capability and so it will serve the globalists well in their effort to bring down population. This is just an aspect of the manifestation of the horseman of the apocalypse, which I would not have time and space to write on in this forum. However, what I have outlined above is not only available in documented works but also just one little example to show the harmful effect of GMOs’. The same goes for plants resulting in a lot of health hazards. It is therefore important that this type of technology be sanctioned/discouraged because of its unimaginable capacity to subtly decimate human beings through the generation of all manner of terminal diseases.

    • Yetunde Kolawole

      Bill and Melinda Gates are agents of the anti-Christ…
      They are on a demonic agenda to depopulate the world…
      We should even stop using Microsoft products, they will cause cancer. That is why Bill Gates created them…
      All the places they are investing in health and education across the world is part of the grand design. Dump your PC now and go for deliverance before you become sterile…
      The Watchman has warned you!

      By the way, there is almost a 100% certainty that this character is none other than either the Nnimo Bassey quoted above or his co-traveller, Rhodes.

      • Watch man

        Mockery is not the way to engage in an intellectual discussion. If you have facts put them forward so that you may convince your readers. Instead of resorting to mockery why not verify what you have read? Or are you on the payroll of Monsanto?

        • Yetunde Kolawole

          It is actually people like you that have made me aware such an entity exists…and yes, mockery makes sense in your case. Everyone follows the work of that foundation in areas spanning financial literacy, maternal health, the fights against polio, malaria and tuberculosis, sanitation etc. There is every reason to have a good laugh at this attempt to drag them into your conspiracy theory.

          By the way, are you aware Michelle Obama is a transgender? There is a ton of material all over the internet on that too.

          • Watch man

            You have not presented any verifiable scientific fact/data on the subject of discussion as I have. Put up some scientific fact/data for your readers to be convinced. What I wrote can be verified. I mentioned specific names which you can refer to. It’s that simple. Be empirically scientific on the subject.

          • Yetunde Kolawole

            What you wrote or what you regurgitated?

            Please be specific.

          • Watch man

            You have not put up your facts yet. Kindly do so for all to see. And please stay on the subject; don’t deviate.

          • Yetunde Kolawole

            I am on my subject. It is you who wants me to deviate to yours. How hard can this be for you to understand?

            The mind that wrote the stuff you copied and pasted certainly wouldn’t have found it that hard, that much I know.

          • Watch man

            Your facts in favor of your principal (Monsanto) will suffice please. I am waiting to read it.

          • RobertWager

            If you want to learn about the science and safety testing about GE crops and derived foods. Go to my web site Robertwagerdotcom and read the article “Not all science is created equal: the GE crop story

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Please, Sis.

            Let’s keep it clean.

            I, for one, am learning from the exchanges.

          • James Ojapa

            Mr. Kay, I, for one, do not see what she has said wrong. Calling someone out is sometimes important and necessary. Read Mr. Robert’s comments and you will agree that you’ll find true objectivity within it. When you read Watchman, there is something mechanical and pre-meditated in his approach from the start you get the immediate impression that he is on a job so to speak.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            I stand corrected in that case, but I feel it could have been done differently ie, with a factual rebuttal.

            I did feel that Watch Man’s comment could have been “copied and pasted” (mechanical), but it was nevertheless another strand of opinion for me.

            I would have loved to have Yetunde’s take on a similar level, albeit, I see myself in the same camp as she is. The only difference here is that I have no strong opinion for or against.

          • Elder Stateman

            For me copying and pasting is another way of providing info. At least that shows that the guy is keeping himself informed, which is better than perishing for lack of knowledge.

          • Elder Stateman

            Being on a job and checking out the information being shared which one is preferable? What was written is it true or false? Whether he copied and pasted should not be the issue. Have you verified to know if the information is true? And besides, what is your own take on the subject?

          • Watch man

            Thank you Elder Stateman for your objectivity. It looks like some people are only interested in the debate/argument and not how the information/data provided could be beneficial. I have tried to put forward as much information as I could with the hope that this may stimulate real intellectual investigation. I am sorry to acknowledge that the level of ignorance in the country is indeed appalling and this has been responsible to a great extent for the masses’ inability to hold their leaders accountable even when they are brazingly violating their right. I hope that one day the tide would change in favor of the bulk of the people of Nigeria. Thanks man!

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            No, Sis.

            I don’t think mockery was the right way to go.

            I actually liked Watch Man’s argument because it was devoid of sentiments, albeit, I wasn’t too impressed with the “depopulation” bit. That did not, however, remove from the main thrust of his argument.

            Thanks

      • frank

        Please can you present us with some hard facts about the safety of GMOs. Your analogy with Microsoft products is really sounds weak

        • Yetunde Kolawole

          Really, Mr Frank? Maybe you did not read his line “Like I commented elsewhere, this kind of science fits into the depopulation effort of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” before you replied.

    • Cadmus VOY

      Hello Watch man it seems you have a lot of information about GMOs can you please share your personal info with me lets interact on this issues. I for one am against GMOs its effects are imaginable, they are destructive and usually leads to the rise of various cancer cases that we now have global, come to think of it we are already been feed with GMOs without knowing it. most times we eat sweet corn in cans when used for salad in our fast food and even our homes, we eat foreign canned food but unknowingly to us some of these processed imported food are already been enhanced genetically that’s why we see can food with inscriptions like fully enhanced and enriched with vitamin this and that when the original products from the farm doesn’t contain such nutrients indeed Nigerian we are sitting on a keg of explosive without knowing it. Thanks for the enlightenment to others. Cheers, Cadmus VOY

      • Watch man

        Cadmus, just because you requested it, let me take you through the summary of a research.
        Dr. Arpad Pusztai, one of the world’s leading experts on lectins and the GM of plants, was (while working for Rowett Research Institute, RRI, Scotland) the first scientist to conduct an independent research on the safety of GM food in the world. He did this with his wife (Dr. Susan Bardocz). Pusztai embarked on this project by testing rats in groups with one group fed with potatoes genetically engineered with lectin (a natural insecticide that prevents aphid insect attack on potato crops). Note that it was the Scottish govt that awarded this contract to RRI at $1.5m.
        After 110 days, the rats fed with genetically modified (or engineered) potatoes were discovered to have developed smaller body size and weight than the ones fed with organic potatoes. The liver and heart sizes of the rats that ate GE potatoes were found to have grown smaller, and have also developed weaker immune systems. In addition, the brain size of the GE potato-fed rats were found to have become smaller than those fed with normal potatoes.
        Now guess what happened? After Pusztai made known his research result on ITV “World in Action” broadcast Monsanto was grievously angered to the point that they got in touch with U.S. President (Bill Clinton) who had to reach Tony Blair who in turn had to reach RRI. The result: Pusztai lost his job, his research submission was retracted. The rest is history. This info is in the public domain.
        Do we still have any reason to embrace GM or GE products?

        • Cadmus VOY

          Thanks watchman, am also an anti GM activist, we don’t need GM crops in Nigeria at all, we are not yet technologically advance in most of our research institutes so how do we tend to curb the impact of this if para venture it impacts begins… Its so painful that some persons don’t really Know the implication of all these that’s why they still go about hailing the works of the Nigerian bio safety agency..

          • Watch man

            Unfortunately we have a lot of educated illiterates in NASS whose primary preoccupation is their pocket and would not care about what is and is not beneficial to people. Since you are an anti-GM activist it would be nice you keep up the gospel against GM products. Just as Elderstateman has written, we do not need GM products. Cheers!

          • Cadmus VOY

            Thanks Watchman i will always keep the anti GM campaigns going…well done..

        • RobertWager

          Perhaps you should read the Royal Society report on Pusztai

          The safety of GM plants is an important and complex area of scientific research and
          demands rigorous standards. However, on the basis of the information available to us,
          it appears that the reported work from the Rowett is flawed in many aspects of design,
          execution and analysis and that no conclusions should be drawn from it.
          2 We found no convincing evidence of adverse effects from GM potatoes. Where the
          data seemed to show slight differences between rats fed predominantly on GM and
          on non-GM potatoes, the differences were uninterpretable because of the technical
          limitations of the experiments and the incorrect use of statistical tests.
          3 The work concerned one particular species of animal, when fed with one particular
          product modified by the insertion of one particular gene by one particular method.
          However skilfully the experiments were done, it would be unjustifiable to draw from
          them general conclusions about whether genetically modified foods are harmful to
          human beings or not. Each GM food must be assessed individually.
          4 The whole episode underlines how important it is that research scientists should
          expose new research results to others able to offer informed criticism before releasing
          them into the public arena.

          And more to the point no one (with billions being spent by GMO critics) has been able to reproduce the results after more than 25 years of trying.

          • Watch man

            Unfortunately, your submissions are expectedly the same establishment arguments that were used to discredit Pusztai’s work so as to promote agribusiness.

          • RobertWager

            If you do not trust National and International Academies of Science, National food safety authorities, and 100’s of scientific organizations around the world, then who do you trust for information on GE crops and derived foods?

          • Watch man

            I trust genuine, uncompromised, independent and objective scientific organizations who have not been soiled by the establishment and global agro-corporatocracy. The ones you just mentioned are part of the establishment gang.

          • RobertWager

            Thank you for making it clear to readers the depth of the conspiracy that you believe in this area of science.

          • Watch man

            Thank you for informing readers about the establishment you are projecting their interest.

          • RobertWager

            If you mean the global science then yes I defend the science. politics of this subject are much murkier and harder to defend.

          • Watch man

            I mean the global establishment.

          • RobertWager

            Can you be more specific about “establishment” as it can have many meanings to different people.

          • Watch man

            I leave it for you to figure out because I believe you know based on your argument so far.

          • RobertWager

            Thank you for this discussion. it is clear you reject the global scientific opinion of thirity plus years of research on GE crops and derived foods. I appreciate the civil tone you used without insults or ad hominem attacks. It is clear we must agree to disagree on this subject.

            Cheers

          • Watch man

            Thanks for your good use of philological expressions. I am glad to have let you know that I accept honest, objective, independent, and non-establishment scientific opinion that is not laced with agribusiness interest of the czars of the global Union who are largely anti-people.

          • James Ojapa

            You have just nailed it sir.

          • RobertWager

            If Pusztai’s work is correct then why did he not repeat it taking the criticisms into account to prove he was correct. he has had 25+ years to do that but still has not. Hmmm.

          • Watch man

            Pusztai is under psychological confinement as a result of his work. If he dare go beyond what he has done the establishment would apply Strekker’s solution to him and that would be the end.

          • RobertWager

            Seriously? And what has stopped the entire global anti-GMO industry from redoing the experiment (properly this time) to prove his conclusions were correct? they have had 25+ years to do it.

          • Watch man

            That is the question I should ask you.

          • RobertWager

            The last thirty plus years of research 9done properly by internationally agreed protocols) has overwhelmingly demonstrated the safety of GE crops and derived foods. Is there one particular area you would like to focus on in our discussions?

          • Watch man

            Nigeria does not need GE products. It is not good for their health.

          • RobertWager

            No one has ever demonstrated any harm from consuming food with ingredients derived from GE crops after over 6 trillion meals consumed. Your fears are real but not founded in fact.

          • Watch man

            The evidence to the contrary are shining like the sun, so bright that it could be blinding.

          • RobertWager

            Every national academy of science, every national food safety authority and every national health authority all say there is no evidence of harm but you clearly reject their opinions. so what would it take for you to reconsider the validity of those many opinions from around the world?.

          • Watch man

            Every objective, independent and non-establishment organizations and scientists have proven that the contrary is the case.

          • James Ojapa

            Mr. Watchman, i was enjoying the back and forth but it seems Robert has won this round. He is dropping points and you are not.

        • RobertWager

          Perhaps you should read the European Academies Science Advisory Council 2013 report- Planting the Future. in it they state:

          “There is NO VALIDATED EVIDENCE that GM crops have greater adverse impact on health and
          the environment than any other technology used in plant breeding…There is abundant and accumulating evidence from extensive worldwide experience for benefit, and lack of evidence for
          environmental or human health risk associated with GM crop technology…There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy…It is vital that sustainable agricultural production
          and food security harnesses the potential of biotechnology in all its facets.”

          Its free on-line

          But that is just what the science says, the internet says lots of scary thing too.

          • Watch man

            Royal Society and the Advisory council you mentioned are part of the establishment that acknowledged Pusztai’s work but had to do what they did in collaboration with the Professor that Pusztai reported to so as to project global agribusiness.

          • RobertWager

            Again if National Academies of Science (in this case the Royal Society) and national food safety authorities, national and international health authorities all agree on the safety of GE crops and derived food and you reject all of their opinions, then who do you trust for information on this subject?

          • Watch man

            I have answered your question already in my previous comment.

    • Elder Stateman

      In summary you can never tamper with nature and still get the same result. Whether it is called GM or GE or GMO they all refer to tampering with genes in one way or another. After He finished creating everything (including seeds, fruits, etc) God’s verdict was:
      “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day” (Gen.1:31, Amp.)
      You cannot modify, engineer, or make better what God has done and approved by declaring it “good”. It is selfishness, greed, covetousness and gluttony for money, profit and control of others that is making man to destroy himself by tampering with nature. Plant your crops when it is time and leave the ground fallow when it is time so that it could replenish, just as God has instructed in His Word.

      • Watch man

        You have counseled like an elder indeed. I totally agree with your submission.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      I am ambivalent towards the matter of GM crops, almost to the point of supporting it.

      However, I like your argument. Dealt totally with the facts and removed sentiments.

      I am grateful for your contribution.

    • thusspokez

      More paragraphs would help readability, but I thank you for making this information available to readers — most of whom seem not to have heard of Monsanto or GM crops. I find such level of ignorance rather shocking!

  • Yetunde Kolawole

    Where I had to laugh was when the article referred to Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour as a ‘çonsumer’. Everyone knows that next to Bassey, he is the most popular paid agent of the anti-GM lobby group in Nigeria. These are people who have fed fat on spreading fear and attracting companies involved in the trade war against the GM technology because of the threat it poses to their businesses.
    Premium Times needs to do a better job of watching how it allows its reporters manipulate the public.

    • frank

      Can you give us some hard facts about the safety of GMOs. It seems your analogy with Microsoft products is really weak

    • Peter_Edo

      you know book

    • concerned nigerian

      Hello yetunde. …This is Gbadebo RV here….many facts were listed in this article you ignored…precedents set by France, Germany ( and thus the EU), Russia, Japan and so many countries you ignore, 6 of G8 countries have ban the commercialization of GMO’s in their country….you ignore….The fact that Monsanto refuses to label it’s products in the great US of A, you ignore …you ignore the fact that Bill Gates owns significant shares in Monsanto and is a prime advocate for it in Nigeria….” conflict of interest” ….you ignore that as well….. you Ignore the debate I had with the former minister of agriculture Adesina. ..
      http://africanhealthmagazine.c

      ..what you are focused on is accusing me that I am a paid anti gmo campaignist….lol…..paid by who please tell me?…Europe that won’t import our food anymore if we go gmo or by the poor organic farmers who will have to pay more for seed every year as well as toxic exposure as seen in Sri Lanka with kidney disease and the then ban on glyphosate? Or maybe my buddy Vladimir? Since you choose to slander a person like me that actually cares about my honour , let’s do It like this…..If you are serious let’s go to court…put up your number and real ID my lawyer will call you and we can settle this matter in court were ill bring all my bank statements back dated to whenever you want…..because historically all you NABDA people are the exact mould that keep selling us out …..from the enslavement of our people to the structural adjustment program and now this…..yet you are educated ….you have access to the Internet…. you know the landmass of Nigeria is less than 30% occupied, you know the quality of land we have, you know our low production is a reflection of poor leadership not hard working farmers without access to loans , logistic and transport systems and poor storage….YET YOU are happy to loose your food sovereignty and every year farmers will go to Monsanto to buy seed that contaminates local varieties and won’t be labelled…..historically there have access ways been small minded Nigerians nothing new here…..but yea….like I said this is your chance to discredit me fully as a paid shill…let’s do it…open door court house…alternative dispute resolution sharp sharp less than one week sorted…..lol…. Joker….not everyone sells their people or fights because of money….. Some of us can still see beyond our nose….

  • RobertWager

    Last week the US National Academy of Sciences (US) released their latest report on the safety of GE crops and derived foods. Like every other one they have ever produced on this subject the conclusion was GE crops and derived foods are as safe or in some cases safer than food from other breeding methods.. this is the same conclusion as Academies of Science from around the world, the UN-FAO, European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, ANZFA, European Commission, etc

    • True Nigerian

      Just as many hydrocarbon firms also said that fracking has no hazards for the environment. Tony Abbot of Australia and his big corporate sponsors also say that climate change is nothing – that it is not happening; that it is overrated, etc. That is also how the corporations which are getting mining leases in Queensland coast are claiming that the Great Barrier Reef is in rude health and that their mining activities will have no consequences on the reef. The truth is, something has always gone wrong each time nature is subjugated.

      • dudu

        Methink that is not enough reason not to try.

    • Peter_Edo

      GBAM!!! just had to read on tihis becase i always have this feeling when people are revolting against policies of this admin… i tend to be skeptical and find out why and try to learn about the so called concerns… FOR AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT, THE ENTIRE EU, THE USA, CHINA, CANADA, SOUTH AFRICA INDIA AND JAPAN USE AND GROW THESE GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS TO INCREASE YEILD AND ENSURE FOOD SECURITY

      • Duvwarovwo Efe

        the answer to the last question is yes

        • Peter_Edo

          thanks for the correction. and its corrected.

    • thusspokez

      the conclusion was GE crops and derived foods are as safe or in some cases safer than food from other breeding methods..

      So why are Americans the sickest people on earth? And why are they increasingly looking like heavy-weight boxers if not for the GM foods, they consume?

      • concerned nigerian

        “Last week the US academy of sciences”……and that’s supposed to give us comfort? with the precedents of DDT, Agent Orange, tobacco industry, Asbestos and all the corruption of science that we have seen come out of America when the public good is in collision with profits and industry??? NO….
        If this is such a good technology LABEL it….be proud of it…..How is it that one company, is pushed so hard by the American government itself…..how is it that the regulated controls regulation…

        “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe
        the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as
        possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.”

        – Philip Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate
        communications (the FDA is the US government’s Food and Drug Administration,responsible for food safety)

        “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”
        – US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

        In the words of David Schubert, Professor and Head of
        Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies,
        La Jolla, California;

        “One thing that surprised us is that US
        regulators rely almost exclusively on information provided by the biotech crop developer, and those data are not published in journals or subjected to peer review… The picture that emerges from our study of US regulation of GM foods is a rubber-stamp ‘approval process’ designed to increase public confidence in, but not ensure the safety of, genetically engineered foods.”

        And this is exactly what Monsanto and USAID have turned NABDA and NBMA to…. RUBBER STAMPS THAT ARE POWERED BY A BIO-CORPORATION FACILITATOR BILL not a bio-safety bill

      • Peter_Edo

        who told you that Americans are the sickest people on earth… abeg think!

  • Prophet

    Whole bunch of illiterates hollering about things they do not understand. We are certain these fools love to eat Banana and Plantain. They do not know that Banana and Plantain are actually berries that have been so modified by man that their seeds have become completely useless and the only way reproduce them is by budding. The only legitimate concern about Genetically modified food is that they can be patented and you may have to pay the patent owner before you can grow them
    like Movies and songs.

    • True Nigerian

      You are the ignorant fellow here. There are thousands of pages of research that validly question the safety of GMOs. You can only say that the doubts are yet to be resolved in favour of either side of the argument. That’s the best argument you could have made. But to make a blanket dismissal of the arguments being made here regarding GMOs is a show of your own bias too. Even in the US which has the highest quotient of GMO production and consumption, this debate is still raging with fury, and yet unsettled. Therefore, to say that patents and breeders’ rights are the only problem with GMOs is like blasting your woeful ignorance on the streets with loud speakers.

      • Awizi

        Brilliant Response.

    • Peter_Edo

      you know book… besides most advanced and developed countries have been using GMOs and other enhanced crops since 2002

      • Chukwuka Okoroafor

        And there is push back now in the West. In the United States, more and more foods are carrying the label ‘Organic’ and ‘GMO Free’. Now that the market is drying up, they are coming to Africa to prop up their sales.

        • Peter_Edo

          There is no such thing in that level. Organic foods are a reserve of the rich meaning that most westerners as in 80% and above eat, and farm these food items. A typical example is “whole foods” you are free to google it. I remember from my sojourn in the USA. Whole foods food was ridiculously expensive compared to the regular food grocery store chains like Randall’s, fiesta, Albertsons, walmarts, and target. The Important part is that the latter stored feed the MAJORity of Americans and are located everywhere while “whole foods” is located in the UBER rich part of town.

          • Chukwuka Okoroafor

            I can give you an example. There is Cheerios that now labels their boxes as GMO free. Also, places like Albertsons have Organic foods in their stock. There was a referendum held over 2 and a half years ago in Washington State whether to have foods labelled GMO by legal mandate. It failed to pass (the big agricultural firms had played a major role in defeating this), but this tells you the efforts made to resist this now.

          • Peter_Edo

            Still, if Albertsons now has some organic foods, these organic foods wil still be way more expensive than the other options. Still the reserve of the rich.

            now about cheerios:

            just did a google search of cheerios and GMO and here is what i git

            Is Cheerios non GMO?

            While General Mills promotes the health benefits of Honey Nut Cheerios
            for their whole grain oats, it is silent about the fact that its other
            ingredients such as sugar, corn starch, vitamin E, brown sugar syrup,
            and canola, are at high risk for containing GMOs.[1] Many of General Mills’ other cereals and brands also …

            Is General Mills GMO free?

            While continuing to use genetically modified ingredients in products sold in the United States and Canada, General Mills offers non-GMO Honey Nut Cheerios to consumers in Europe. Most industrialized countries have required GMO labeling for years.

            point is GMO can only do more good than harm in our case. we are struggling with food insecurity and imagine what one pest could do to tomatoes and now tomatoes is like gold. we need GMOs for now, and when we do have food security, we can start phasing them out slowly for hopefully by then we would have learned better ways to cultivate organic foods and achieve good yields and maintain food security.

    • concerned nigerian

      i guess to make these bananas, they inserted genes from a fly or a fish and then modified it to withstand toxic chemicals that bio-accumulate when we eat it? and then you call people illiterates.. your analogy is the equivalent of a Nigerian going to live in boston …gets slightly lighter due to several winters over a period of time… and you use that as justification to advocate for people to use toxic chemicals to bleach….ignoring the health effects of said process….

      -GRV

  • frank

    With these comprehensive argument against GMOs and with my own experience with the GM corn I ate outside Nigeria, I bet Nigerians will reject GMOs sooner than it gets to the market. But i fear the damages would have already been done on some Nigerians before we know. Let us be our brothers keepers. The quality of GMOs is not really as good as the companies are preaching. Like every other manufactured product, it definitely got it’s side effects and the side effect of GMOs may be unimaginable since they are a product of genetically modifying substances.
    We have to be extremely careful what we put in our mouths.

    • Gideon

      I am just wondering ,you ate GM outside Nigeria? Do you have cancer now? Or what exactly was your experience? What side effect does it have please educate us?

  • Ben

    GMO tomatoes available for sale at a good price in Lagos and Kano. Please contact me for details and supply.

    • Gideon

      Its people like you that make the agencies bad. How can you advertise GMO tomatoes when no test no risk assessment and environmental checks have been done? If you really have this tomatoes, destroy them or return the seeds to where ever you brought it from. As at today no GM crop/ product is legally or officially registered and released for use in Nigeria . BE WARNED.

  • Sanmi Falae

    This is mass-suicide. Africa does not need Genetically Modified Foods but mechanized farming for large scale production. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that Frankenstein Food is save. Zambia rejected it despite going through famine. Trust Europe and America not to give up the technology if it is not POISON.

    • thusspokez

      This is mass-suicide

      You are not far from truth. Americans are the sickest people on this planet because of GM food, but at least, they have good health care facilities unlike Nigeria.

      Also, GM will bring environmental problems, e.,g the demise of bees, birds, etc., And local Nigerian farmers will be forced to rely on Monsanto for their seeds to grow. You can also be certain that Monsanto will copyright its GM crops.

    • Peter_Edo

      go and open your eye… read about the information first before jumping to dull conclusions!

  • True Nigerian

    Shame on Buhari’s government for allowing this without consulting Nigerians.

  • Rommel

    When aircrafts were invented, people rioted that it should never be allowed to carry human beings

    • thusspokez

      And you think that GM crops is a new invention?

  • Ben

    For the first time ever, I am indeed proud to be a Nigerian for this singular decision by the Nigerian government to embrace agricultural biotechnology in the country. From practical experience as a farmer, we know what we experience on a regular basis with low yields, pest and disease attacks resulting in heavy financial losses. Imagine that if we embraced this technology a long while ago, we won’t be facing the present pest attack on tomato production in the country.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Thanks, bruv.

      Don’t know who you are, but you spoke my mind clearly.

      If we had GM tomatoes in the country, we won’t have the current situation where tomatoes are now more expensive than apples.

      • thusspokez

        Don’t know who you are, but you spoke my mind clearly.

        Gosh! I can believe the support Monsanto is getting from posters her. You lot will drink poison if you are offered it. Some of you Nigerians are so gullible and ignorant. Spend just a few minutes and look up GM crops, but particularly, Monsanto. Unbelievable!

        • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

          Omo, we can quit the name calling here.

          You have an opinion, so do I, that calls for no friction.

          See my response to @Watch Man below.

          It’s all about learning for me, as it should be for you.

          Stay blessed.

          • thusspokez

            You have an opinion

            I wasn’t expressing an opinion but facts about Monsanto. If this topic were being discussed on western forum, I can assure you that more than 95% of the commenters will be up in arms condemning their governments and Monsanto. The name “Monsanto” is a swear word around the world.

      • concerned nigerian

        there is a price for everything….have you checked the price of cancer? Tomatoes are expensive because factories bought up the supply of tomatoes this year… farmers instead of taking the risk of selling basket by basket decided to sell wholesale, make more money and less loss incurred when tomatoes spoil…tomatoes coming in to the south is from cameroon hence expensive… our low productivity is a reflection OF POOR GOVERNANCE…. nigerians do not occupy up to 30percent of our landmass…the rest of which is rich virgin soil…yet we are not planting… Government signed up to the Maputo declaration to invest 10percent of its budget to agriculture in the last 10 years, it never went past 1.6percent….our farmers don’t get the loans the CBN allocates for them..banks give them ridiculous terms to access these funds…The government came with cassava bread…told farmers to plant and guaranteed them they will buy it….FARMERS PLANTED THE GOVERNMENT NEVER CAME….leaving them in debt…when last did you hear about cassava bread? visionless and bad governance is the reason for low productivity….no storage, transport infrastructure etc….this “short cut” is not the way forward we will come back to square one…like us importing petroleum products or amnesty…All i want is for it to be codified in to law, that in the event / when it is eventually accepted by the world as was done with tobacco and cancer , DDT etc, that this product is toxic…that ALL THE PROMOTERS WILL BE ARRESTED for knowingly poisoning their people…i will leave this debate….lets put that in the bio-safety bill

        • Peter_Edo

          so there is nothing like tuta absoluta?

        • Watch man

          Thanks for this piece of information. In fact I went to the market recently to buy tomatoes and discovered that the bowl I use to buy has its price raised by more than three times. When I inquired the seller told me that a major Nigeria entrepreneur has bought most of the tomatoes that come from the North in order to set up a tomato paste factory, and that even the one I was buying then was imported from Cameroon. In fact this seller went further to tell me that a big minister in the current FEC has a mega tomato farm in Cameroon from where Nigerians come to buy tomatoes. When I inquired further to know why silence was the answer I got. Govt’s attitude and apparent involvement in mega corporatocracy is one of the reasons why GM seed companies like Monsanto would have their way.

    • Elder Stateman

      How come we never had this scarcity of tomatoes until now? Simple: corporate coys have bought over tomato farms to start tomato paste factories, Fulani herdsmen destruction of farms has escalated without govt doing enough, and some unpatriotic politicians have gone to neighboring countries to establish tomato farms instead of Nigeria.

    • thusspokez

      So gullible! You have to be living on another planet not to be aware of the issues and debate about GM crops, particularly over the last three decades.

      • Barry Piper

        All of which are based on ignorance.

        • concerned nigerian

          sure….because “the scientissssst say its safe” the same ones that said DDT was safe or the ones put in place by micheal taylor a former Monsanto employee moved to head the FDA…or is it the numerous scientist that have lost their jobs once they blew the whistle on the hazards of GMO’s…..

          • Barry Piper

            You just proved my point by making up some lies. So in the future, if you could stop lying that would be great.

  • thusspokez

    The National Biosafety Management Agency has issued two permits for the Commercial Release and Placing on Market of genetically modified cotton, and the confined field trial of maize, to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited.

    Permit to “Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited”? This is like signing Nigeria’s death warrant. “Bio Safety” Indeed! Why on earth has this Nigerian so-called “Bio Safety” agency done this? Besides, the known (and even known-unknown) dangers of genetically modified (GM) crops, Monsanto has a very bad reputation around the world.

    I am angry and even slow to get myself started on Monsanto. Monsanto is evil! Indeed, Monsanto is known as the “The Most Evil Corporation” in the World and should have never been allowed to operate in Nigeria.

    Nigerians farmers should indeed, be very worried, because Monsanto’s GM crops will wipe out their non-Monsanto GM crops, leaving only Monsanto’s GM crops. This will mean that local Nigerian farmers will be totally dependent on Monsanto for seeds to plant in their farms.

    Americans are the largest (in terms of size) and also the sickest people in the world. This has something to do with eating GM foods. What do one expect when one eats food from crops that are genetically modified with the genes of pigs, cows, spiders, monkeys, fish, vaccines and viruses etc?

    Monsanto is also notorious for using bribes to get its way even in the West. Sadly, in a corrupt country like Nigeria which present a fertile ground for corrupt multi-national corporations, Monsanto can get whatever it wants. I just wonder who is stepping up to protect the Nigerian people but particularly the farmers from this world most evil corporation and its evil GM crops and foods. The headline news below show the extends of the hostility the evil Monsanto faces in Europe:

    “Two More European Countries Ban Monsanto’s GMO Crops – EcoWatch”
    “It’s Official: 19 European Countries Say ‘No’ to GMOs – EcoWatch”
    “Slap in the Face for Monsanto: European Parliament Votes to Ban…”
    “European Countries Ban Monsanto Corn…
    “Monsanto and the Poisoning of Europe – Counterpunch”
    “European Parliament Rejects Imports of Monsanto’s GM…”

    • Elder Stateman

      Thank you dear! In order to hide their identity Monsanto’s German equivalent (Bayer) now wants to acquire the $62bn Monsanto. The world is being monetized because of the evil desire for profit.

    • Cadmus VOY

      thanks a lot for this …you are on the right track

      • Watch man

        I have responded to your request in my comment.

  • James Ojapa

    “They were signed by NBMA’s Director-General, Rufus Ebegba, on May 1”
    This is very inaccurate. They were to take effect from May 1 (which is what the letter actually reads) is different from the letter being signed on May 1.

  • Bob_Phelps

    Burkina Faso’s commercial Bt cotton ruined their industry by reducing lint quality and yields. They are going back to GM-free cotton to try to restore their previous reputation as a top quality producer. Monsanto is conning Nigeria.

  • Jay

    Please who has had a taste of any GM product?

    • Rachel

      I’ll give you an example. Genetically modified foods often look better, but many times they are lacking in taste. In the US, Organic bananas last for over a week before the get too ripe. GMOs ripen and are unable to be eaten within 1 or 2 days. The food tastes drastically different and looks different.

  • Jay

    Kindly share your experience

  • Rachel

    Obviously, some politicians were bribed. Europe and most of the world bans GMO’s. The United States uses them because of the Monsanto lobby. There are western diseases that have not come Nigeria yet including obesity, alzheimer’s, high rates of cancer and diabetes. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You only want western problems if you have western money which most of Nigeria does not. Nigeria has never had an issue growing crops, in fact, agricultural experts from around the world are astounded at the quality of agricultural products grown in Nigerian soil. This is an effort from the west to slowly destroy the quiet lives of our Nigerian citizens bringing on health and environment issues that currently do not exist in the country. Please get the seeds and sell them to a third party and use the funds to buy our natural seeds that have sustained us with no issues for DECADES if not CENTURIES.