Why we are neutral on GMOs in Nigeria – Regulator

Maize
Maize

The Director-General of National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA, Rufus Ebegba, said the agency is an unbiased umpire in matters relating to Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs in the country.

Mr. Ebegba said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.

“Our key responsibility is to serve as an unbiased umpire so as to ensure that the practice of modern biotechnology is safe for the citizens, while boosting the nation’s economy,’’ he said.

He said that the agency was not established by the federal government to stop or promote GMOs, adding that its mandate was to ensure that GMOs were safe for human health and the environment.

“Biotechnology is very crucial to our national economic efforts, as it will bring about more agricultural yields for food sufficiency and profits for Nigerian farmers.

“We have been able to fully establish the National Biosafety GMO Detection and Analysis Laboratory, which is very functional now and we are able to analyse our products.

“We have also ordered some GMO test kits and other new equipment that are modern and very precise in testing,’’ he said.

Mr. Ebegba said that the agency was working closely with other line agencies to ensure that the genetically modified (GM) seeds and crops which were released to the public were safe for consumption.

“We are working closely with agencies like NAFDAC, the Nigerian Customs Service, the Nigerian Seed Council, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Council and others. We also constantly monitor all the permits that we have given,’’ he said.

He said that the official GMOs in the country were undergoing confined field trials.

“The status of these products has not been ascertained; what the scientists are doing now is to ensure the efficiency of the modification and whether it is successful or not.

“The scientists also collect data and conduct nutritional analysis of the products to ensure that the products are of global standards,’’ he said.

Mr. Ebagbe said that the agency had given the scientists some terms and conditions and from time to time, workers are sent to the field to look at what the scientists were doing.

“We do this to ensure that what they are doing is in conformity with the terms and conditions that we have given them and so far, they have been very compliant,’’ he added.

(NAN)


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  • Tess

    Why you are neutral on GMOs? Because you’ve been settled by the dumper.

  • thusspokez

    NATIONAL BIOSAFETY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACT, 2015
    EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

    “This Act establishes the National Biosafety Management Agency charged with the responsibility for providing regulatory framework. institutional and administrative mechanism for safety measures in the application of modern bio-technology in Nigeria with the view to preventing any adverse effect 011 human health, animals, plants and environment.

    What is it in this Act that Mr. Rufus Ebegba cannot understand? The NBMA is not an umpire; its essential role is to safeguard human health, plants and the environment. And the reason GM crop is banned in most parts of the world is because of its danger to human health, animals, plants and the environment”.

    From the UK Guardian
    ”For a generation, a campaign by the green movement against the growing of genetically modified crops has held sway across Europe. These foodstuffs are a threat to health, the environment and the small independent farmer, NGOs have argued. As result, virtually no GM crops have been grown on Europe’s farms for the past 25 years.”

    I should ask if Mr. Rufus Ebegba has received any bribe from one or more of the companies flogging GM crops, because they are known for using bribes to persuade corrupt officials in third-word countries to get their way.

  • Watch man

    You guys over there at the agency are either settled or you are lazy at doing your work. You cannot remain neutral in this issue of GMO. This is because GMO has been proven over and over again to be unsafe. How can you modify the gene of a creature or seed and expect the outcome to be like the original?
    Dr Puzstai’s well documented research work conducted at a research facility in Scotland is a very good resource material. Puzstai is one of the best in the field of biotechnology. His conclusion is also instructive; he said he would not recommend anyone to embrace anything called GMO. Why therefore would Nigeria’s Ebegba and his gang of corrupt officials not clamp down on this unnatural manipulation of seeds and livestock? All NGOs’ should rise up in protests against this bio-unsafety agency of Ebegba and get them to do their job. At a time when many countries are baning GMOs’ backward-thinking Nigeria govt is still continuing in its corrupt practice of playing the ostrich.

  • Abdullah Musa

    We should not blame the bunch.
    Government simply does not care.
    The rot is from federal ministry of agriculture.
    One wonders what AFAN is doing.