Groups Urge NASS To Investigate Introduction Of GMOs Into Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Groups Urge NASS To Investigate Introduction Of GMOs Into Nigeria

Posted: Jun 16, 2016 at 6:08 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuzor Emejor

Abuja – Three organizations, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Food Sovereignty, and Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) and convener, Nigerians Against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have called on the National Assembly to investigate how GMOs were introduced into the country’s food and farming system.

In a statement jointly signed by Nnimmo Bassey, director, HOMEF; Mariann Bassey-Orovwuje, Food Sovereignty Manager/coordinator, ERA/FoEN and Friends of the Earth International (FoEI); and Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, convener of Nigerians Against GMOs, the groups accused the National Bio-safety Management Agency (NBMA) of compromising its regulatory functions in the introduction of GMOs by Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited.

They warned of the grave implications of exposing Nigerians to GMOs, adding that its health impacts would be unimaginable.

“We restate our stand that the so-called permit issued to Monsanto to introduce GMOs into Nigeria should be overturned and the bio-safety law itself should be repealed.

“We also call on the National Assembly to urgently investigate the process leading to the granting of the permit on Sunday, May 1, 2016, to assure Nigerians that we are not pawns in a commercial game to open Africa to toxic technologies,” the groups said.

In the statement, NBMA was alleged to have surreptitiously granted permits to Monsanto to bring their GMOs and glyphosate into Nigeria.

‘We restate here that Monsanto’s applications were approved without due diligence and that the law setting up NBMA is extremely flawed in that it gives individuals in the agency the latitude to toy with the health of Nigerians, our environment and food systems.

“Contrary to Monsanto’s claims, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that there was strong evidence of genotoxicity and oxidative stress for glyphosate entirely from publicly available research, including findings of DNA damage in the peripheral blood of exposed humans.

“May we be reminded once again that NBMA signed the permits on a Sunday, a public holiday, when government offices were closed and just one month and a few days after the applications were opened to the public for comments.

“NBMA says it was ‘convinced that there are no known adverse impacts to the conservation and sustainable use to of biodiversity taking into account risk to human health,'” the statement said.

Commenting further on the activities of NBMA in granting permits to Monsanto to introduce GMO products, the groups said, ”We have an agency that disrespects the voices of the people, ignores national interests and blatantly promotes the interests of biotech corporations.

“The relationship between National Bio-safety Agency (NBMA), National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and Monsanto is rife with conflict of interest against the Nigerian people.

“How can we have NBMA sit on the Board of NBDA, be a co-applicant with Monsanto and then sit to approve the application? This should fit into the definition of corruption in this season of Change.

“Monsanto has been desperate to tell the world that their weed killer laced with the ingredient known as glysophate is safe. The debate about the safety of glysophate has been interesting, with Monsanto in its response, claiming that “glyphosate poses no unreasonable risks to humans or the environment when used according to label instructions.

“Monsanto argues that their GMOs and their weed killers are safe. The truth is that the company is good at avoiding liability while exploiting the agencies that ought to regulate them,” the group said.