Biosafety Agency warns against illegal importation of GMOs

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has warned against importation of illegal Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).

The Director General of the agency, Mr Rufus Ebegba, gave the warning in Abuja, said that the agency was currently surveying possible GMO suspects in the country.

Ebegba expressed regret that many importers were taking advantage of the country’s porous borders to bring in some illegal genetically modified products.

The director-general said the agency was collaborating with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to stop illegal importation of the products.

According to him, trained officials of the agency are picking suspected genetically modified products from supermarkets and analysing them to make sure they are not harmful to human health.

“We are presently carrying out survey of possible GMO suspects that has come into the country unofficially.

“We want to know whether they are safe or not.

“The importers of those products, we are going to invite them to check whether they have any permit with the agency.

“The GMOs currently in the markets do not have adverse effects on humans and the environment.

“The media should ensure they give the right information to the public.

“Do not help the rumour mongers to promote wrong information,’’ Ebegba said.

The director-general called on all institutions, companies and agencies with the intention of dealing on modern biotechnology to establish a biosafety committee to ensure safety.

“The NBMA Act has sufficiently set up guidelines and regulations to govern practices of modern biotechnology in such a manner that will ensure that potential risks are eliminated,’’

“The act establishing the agency directs individuals and companies institutions found illegally dealing on GMOs would be made to pay a fine of N2.5 million or five years jail term.

“No individual or group can protect the people more than the government,’’ Ebegba said.

NAN/Nnenna.O