House of reps summons Agric Minister over GMOs

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh to explain the ministry’s role in the release into the Nigerian market of Genetically Modified products, alleged to contain cancer causing substances.

The House also summoned  the Director General of NAFDAC to present to it a list of food supplements and Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, that have been granted NAFDAC’s registration number.

This followed a motion expressing concern that GMOs and food supplements have diet concerns and doubts regarding their safety.

Presenting the motion which was unanimously adopted, Mr. Austin Chukwukere expressed concern that the National Bio safety Management Agency issued two permits to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited for the commercial release of Genetically Modified cottons into the Nigerian market.

“The results of most studies with GMOs and food supplements indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical and immunologic parameters.

These worries have become very important nationally and globally because these supplements are said to be over the counter drugs and of course do not pass through medical / professional prescription.” he said.

Also contributing to the debate, Mr. Raphael Igbokwe said despite the agreements Nigeria has signed, the best clinical standards should be met so that the technology would not attract harm to Nigerians who consume these items.

On his part, Mr. Ahmed Baba Kaita said the health hazards attached to these products are enormous adding that based on a research in the US, it was discovered that GMOs are responsible for abnormal growth in the body called “glumia”.

The America Cancer Society has listed glyphosate, a substance in cotton, among herbicides linked to cancer.

The House also resolved to conduct a public hearing on GMOs with bio technology stakeholders with the view of protecting our environment and the lives of Nigerians.