Biosafety agency conducts investigations on suspected GM products

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is currently conducting the analysis of some suspected Genetically Modified (GM) products to safeguard the safety of Nigerians.

The Director-General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said that the agency’s scientists had selected certain products which were suspected to have contained genetically modified ingredients from some superstores across the country

Our work is to ascertain if those products are actually Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or not; we want to find out the genetic component that describes the GM material. We also have to be sure that the sequence that has been inserted (in the products) is not one that will be detrimental to the health of Nigerians.This is why we want to be sure that everything that is genetically modified within the borders of Nigeria is safe for public consumption.’’

Ebegba assured the citizens that NBMA had been diligent in the discharge of its duties.

I urge Nigerians to have faith in the ability of the agency’s scientists to protect and safeguard their health,’’ he added.

He, nonetheless, urged anti-GMO campaigners not to play politics with issues that could engender food security and alleviate poverty in the country.

He said that pragmatic efforts should be made to boost the availability and affordability of high-quality foods in the country via biotechnology applications.

Besides, Ebegba urged institutions of higher learning in the country to always obtain research information from credible sources so as to enable them to be accurate, while avoiding misinformation and distortions.

Nigerians need to be informed accurately on the intricacies of biosafety regulations in the country and the role which the agency plays. However, stakeholders in the biosafety sector should work in tandem with global bodies because Nigeria is not a pariah nation; we are a responsible and respected member of the global community.This is because modern biotechnology applications had been found to be safe by global certification bodies. All the same, informed criticism is good for checks and balances but it should not be allowed to be a clog the wheel of progress,’’ he added.

 

Mazino Dickson