Group seeks ban on GMOs as NBMA alerts Nigerians to imported maize
The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has charged the Federal Government to ban Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) crops and foods in the country. It argued that Nigerian farmers could meet the country’s food needs, if they get the necessary support with extension services, processing and storage facilities, as well as adequate infrastructure.
Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, who spoke after the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), alerted Nigerians on tons of genetically modified (GM) maize imported into the country without necessary approvals
“These GMOs should not have been authorised to head to Nigerian ports in the first instance. We are worried that this incident may just be a fraction of other undetected arrival of unauthorised foods into Nigeria, including those of the genetically modified varieties.
“Nigerians should be alarmed at these incidents because whoever imported these illegal shipments may have done so due to the preponderant attitude of government that Nigeria is open to GMOs and that there is nothing to worry about GMOs.
“This is an indication that more GMO foods and products may have slipped into the country undetected”, he added.Also speaking, Chair of Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Mariann Bassey-Orovwuje, asked: “What happened to Nigeria’s pre-shipment procedures?
Besides asking the Federal Government to probe the shipment of the GMO maize, HOMEF urged the NBMA and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to ensure that the illegal consignments are impounded and destroyed.
The NBMA should also conduct market audits to ensure that crops, foods and feeds that have genetically modified traits have not been sneaked into the country.
Director General of NBMA, Rufus Ebegba, said that the Agency got information of the importation through an intelligence report and has put necessary measures in place to track the importers and bring them to book.
He urged members of the public not to panic, as the agency would never compromise on its mandate of ensuring that the safety of Nigerians and the environment was topmost in its dealings, adding that with an already existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the NBMA and the NCS, the products would not be allowed into the country without adherence to due diligence.
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