From Agu Dawn, Abuja
The National Biosafety Management Agency, (NBMA) has assured Nigerians that no unwholesome Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) would be allowed into the country.
This is just as the Agency advised importers and Scientists who would want to introduce GMOs into the country, to first obtain a permit from them (NBMA) or risk sanction.
Addressing journalists recently, the Director General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba said the Agency’s major role is to ensure safety in the application of modern biotechnology and the deployment of its products.
He said the Agency issues Biosafety permit before a product which contains GMO material is allowed into the country.
“We want to use this medium to assure Nigerians that the National Biosafety Management Agency will do what it takes to ensure that it’s only genetically modified organisms that are safe will be allowed in Nigeria.
“Let me also use this medium to advise strongly against anyone that intends to introduce genetically modified organisms into the Nigerian markets, the environment without the approval of the agency.
“The agency major role is to ensure safety in the application of modern biotechnology and the deployment of its products which are popularly known as genetically modified organisms.
“Biosafety permit is required before you can deal in modern biotechnology and also release its products which are genetically modified, Dr Ebegba said.
He said the Agency recently gave permit for the importation of grains basically for industrial use, and they (NBMA) are monitoring the process to ensure that only crops given permit are allowed into the country.
“We are aware of the importation of grains which are genetically modified, we have granted some permits and we’re monitoring the trend to ensure that there are no attempt by anybody or company or groups to bring in these products without approval, he noted.
Furthermore, he said “the National Biosafety Management Agency over the years in 2015 up to date has tried to ensure that it meets up its mandate towards Nigerians and also achieve government aspiration.
“While the agency has been doing this, the agency is not without some challenges, but these challenges have been surmountable working with my wonderful partners as my colleagues of the National Biosafety Management Agency, we have been able to deliver the dividends required of us as an agency.
“Also want to seize opportunity to thank our sister agency the Nigerian Customs Service for having being very supportive, giving us information.
“We have an MoU with Nigerian Customs Service to allow the agency in the event of high volume of shipment of grains and seeds into the country so that we are certain the status before they are released for any purpose.
“We also want to use opportunity to thank the federal government of Nigeria, which are we are part-and-parcel for making some funds available for us to operate”.