The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has begun moves to introduce Genetically Modified (GMO) cotton and maize into the country’s foods and farming system.
This runs contrary to assurances by the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril that “Nigeria would not mortgage the safety of its citizens by introducing unproven products into the country” and opposition from other stakeholders.
Already, it was learnt that NBMA has issued two permits to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited. One is for the commercial release and placing on market of genetically modified cotton and the other for the confined field trial of maize.
The two permits have been posted on NBMA website. They were signed by the Director-General of NBMA, Rufus Ebegba on May 1, 2016 (a public holiday) and issued to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited. The first is entitled: “Permit for Commercial release/ Placing on Market of Cotton (MON15985) genetically modified for lepidopteran insect pest resistance” with Permit No: NBMA/CM/IM/001.
The second is entitled: “Permit for Confined Field Trial (CFT) of maize (NK603 and MON 89034 x NK603) genetically modified for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance” with Permit No: NBMA/C FT/001.
Monsanto Company is a publicly traded American multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Greater St. Louis, Missouri, United States.
It is a leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed and roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide. Monsanto’s role in agricultural changes, biotechnology products, and lobbying of government agencies, along with its history as a chemical company has made the company controversial.
Concerned Nigerians made up of 100 groups comprising farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local farmers are urging the Federal Government not to introduce GMO crops now and even if this should be done in the future, it must be after an extensive local research on its safety.
Also, scientists have urged caution before setting the GM bugs loose in an effort to make malaria and Zika-carrying mosquitoes a thing of the past.
An expert panel in the United States (U.S.) concluded that tweaking the Deoxy ribonucleic Acid (DNA)/genetic material of insects to stop them spreading devastating viruses such as malaria and Zika holds great promise, but more research is needed before the techniques can be used in the real world.
Reacting to the development, Director of Mother Health Foundation (MHF), Nnimmo Bassey, in a statement said: “This is extremely shocking. Little wonder officials of NBMA, National Biotech Development Agency (NABDA) and their pro-GMO train have been fighting tooth and nail to fool Nigerians by claiming that GMOs are safe!
“They approved the poorly concocted applications and issued these permits on a Sunday when government offices do not open. In fact, 2nd May was also a public holiday.” MHF is one of the groups in the front line of the resistance.
Read the rest of this story at: https://www.today.ng/news/national/136560/outrage-biosafety-agency-approves-monsantos-gmo-maize-cotton
See also: http://planetabuja.com/dont-want-gmos-cotton-corn-5-million-nigerians-react/