By Etta Michael Bisong
A non-governmental advocacy group under the auspices of Real-Life Society has called on the public to support the adoption of modern biotechnology practice and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria.
Coordinator of the group, Comrade Akin Akinsola, who made the call during a familiarity visit to the corporate head office of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) in Abuja, testified that the level of manpower and facilities at the agency’s disposal clearly reveals its capacity to oversee modern biotechnology activities in the country.
“Having learnt and seen for ourselves what you do and the facilities you have, we call on all Nigerians to trust the Agency and give it a chance”, Comr. Akinsola said.
He hinted that the essence of the visit was to enable members of his organisation acquaint themselves with operations of the agency, as well as seek clarification over the discrepancy by some environmental rights groups challenging the introduction of GMOs into Nigeria’s food system.
Earlier in his welcome address, director general of the NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, explained the importance of regulations to modern biotechnology practice both on human health and the overall preservation of biodiversity.
Dr. Ebegba in his explanation informed the team that the government established the NBMA to ensure safety and avoid any possible misuse of the technology.
“The practice of modern biotechnology ordinarily is not intended to pose any harm or danger to the public or the environment, the agency’s boss said. “The NBMA was established to ensure that this potent tool is not misused”.
The enactment of the Biosafety Act in 2015 and by extension establishment of the NBMA has continued to generate bitter-sweet opinion particularly among rights groups who are apprehensive over its safety including the nation’s capability to handle the awful technology in the face of any eventuality. However, the government has severally reiterated her readiness to adequately superintend over modern biotechnology activities, urging for public trust and support