Reps Summon Agric Minister Over GMO Products | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Reps Summon Agric Minister Over GMO Products

Posted: Jun 24, 2016 at 6:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ahmed Musa

Abuja – Following raging controversy surrounding allegations of health and environmental hazards relating to the production and consumption of “genetically modified organism (GMO) food”, the House of Representatives on Thursday directed its committees on Healthcare Services and Agricultural Production and Services to summon the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, to explain the issuance of permit to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited for the release and placing in the Nigerian market of GMO products despite allegation by the America Cancer Society that glyphosate is among herbicides present in the products.

The America Cancer Society links glyphosate to cancer.

The House also summoned the Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to present to it a list of food supplements and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that have been granted NAFDAC’s registration number.

These resolutions by the House followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Austin Chukwukere (APC, Imo) who said these GMOs and food supplements have diet concerns and doubts have been expressed regarding their safety.

Chukwukere said: “The results of most studies with GMOs and food supplements indicate that they may cause some common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal or reproductive effects and may alter the haematological, biochemical and immunologic parameters.”

“These worries have become very important nationally and globally because these supplements are said to be over the counter drugs and of course do not pass through medical/professional prescription.”

Chukwukere expressed concern about recent reports that the National Biosafety Management Agency issued two permits for the commercial release and placing in the Nigerian market of Genetically Modified cottons to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited.

“These permits came despite concerted efforts of many Nigerians, including faith based organisations, civil society groups, students and local farmers to prevent the introduction of genetically modified products and food items,” he added.

Contributing to the debate, Hon Raphael Nnana Igbokwe (PDP, Imo) said despite the agreements Nigeria has signed, the best clinical standards should be met so that the technology would not attract harm to Nigerians who consume the items.

On his part, Hon Ahmed Baba Kaita (APC, Katsina) said the health hazards attached to these products are enormous, adding that based on a research in the US, it was discovered that GMOs are responsible for abnormal growth in the body called “glumia”.

The House, which adopted the motion after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, resolved to conduct a public hearing on GMOs with bio-technology stakeholders with a view to protecting the nation’s environment and people.

The committees are to report to the House in 12 weeks for further legislative inputs.