From Charity Nwakaudu Abuja
The National Biosafety Management Agency ( NBMA) has debunked rumours making the rounds across the country that all the beans and fruits in Nigerian markets are genetically modified (GM) and harmful for human consumption.
NBMA Director General, Rufus Ebegba, while speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, explained that although there are genetically modified foods in the country, they are yet to be released for commercial purpose.
Ebegba noted that it was only grains that were imported for poultry purpose that are in the market and no other GM products have accessed the markets.
“I want to restate here that the fruits and beans available in the Nigerian market presently are not genetically modified as insinuated. Rather they are either hybrids or improved. The Federal Government through NBMA is always poised to protect the health of its citizens and the environment by providing case by case analysis of GM and risk assessments.
“Since the inception of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) in 2015, the obvious impact of the Nigerian Biosafety Authority has been felt all over the globe. From the decision to approve Bt Cotton for environmental release in 2016 to the decision to approve PBR Cowpea for environmental release in 2019, the NBMA has made decisions based on scientific facts for the benefit of the Nigerian people and just like our activities that have not gone unnoticed in Africa, it has not gone unnoticed worldwide.
“This is why the Nigerian Biosafety system is well sort after in Africa and the world as our regulations and guidelines have become models that other countries use in developing their own guidelines and regulations” Ebegba, said.
He, therefore urged Nigerians not to be carried away by cheap propaganda by competitors, assuring that GM foods approved by the agency can never cause harm to them as the Federal Government, through the agency, is doing its best to make sure they are safe.
“I want to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government through the agency is doing everything possible to ensure that we are all safe. Let me say this categorically that whatever the agency says is indeed safe.”