Agency re-assures Nigerians of safe Genetically Modified Organisms

By Zeniat Abubakar, Abuja

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The National Bio-safety Management Agency, NBMA in Nigeria has assured Nigerians that Genetically Modified Organisms GMOs products available in the country are safe for consumption.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba stated this while briefing journalists on the state of Bio-safety in Nigeria in Abuja the nation’s capital.

Dr. Ebegba reiterated that the Nigerian government remains committed to protecting the lives of every citizen in the country.

He also said that the federal government through the NBMA approved only safe application of modern biotechnology for economic development in the country particularly in the agriculture sector.

“Nigerians should know that the NBMA was not created to stop GMOs but to ensure that Nigerians and the environment are safe from any adverse impact they may have on human health and the environment.

“I want to restate here that the fruits and beans available in the Nigerian market presently are not genetically modified as insinuated rather they are either hybrids or improved. The federal government through NBMA is always poised to protect the health of its citizens and the environment by providing case by case analysis of GMO and risk assessments”, he said.

Upgrading and inspection of facilities
Ebegba said the NBMA has 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, confined field trial sites and multi-locational trial sites for proper surveillance, tracking and monitoring of GMO’s in Nigeria.

As part of efforts to expand monitoring and surveillance, the agency has signed various memorandum of understanding with some sister agencies such as Standards Organization of Nigeria, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, National Seed Council, and Nigerian Customs Service to ensure that the Nigerian boarders are well monitored in case of any unapproved Genetically Modified import.

The National Bio-safety Management Agency, NBMA is charged with the responsibility of providing regulatory frame work, institutional and administrative mechanism for safety measures in the application of modern biotechnology in Nigeria with a view to preventing its advance effect on human health, animals, plants and environment.

Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu

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