The attention of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has been drawn to a series of incisive and unpatriotic statements peddled by the Health for Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) about the agency and its activities.
While the Agency does not want to banter with HOMEF or any of its kind, it is important to state here that NBMA is a government agency established by law as a regulatory agency to ensure the safe handling and use of modern biotechnology and its products which includes Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Hence, the establishment of the Agency is not to stop the use of GMOs but to ensure that it is safe for Nigerians and that it has no adverse effect on human health, plants, animals and the environment.
The Agency draws its mandate from the NBMA Act 2015 which states that “the Agency is charged with the responsibility for providing regulatory framework, institutional and administrative mechanism for the safety measures in the application of modern biotechnology in Nigeria with the view to preventing any adverse effect on human health, animals, plants and environment”.
The Agency does not go outside the law in the course of the discharge of its duty and we ensure that the public is carried along in all the agency’s activities “through effective public participation, public awareness and access to information in the use and application of modern biotechnology and GMOs”.
The Agency issued some permits and due processes were followed in the course of reviewing the applications and ensuring that all the necessary requirements are met before the permits were granted.
The Agency has no intention and will never verbally engage HOMEF, but these statements made against the Agency are not only incisive but negate the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure safety in the application of the technologies that assure Nigerians of food security and food safety.
It will be wrong and indeed out of place to accuse the Agency of complicity as the Agency is an unbiased umpire and has the interest of Nigerians at heart in the process of regulation and as such can’t be involved in anything that will cause harm to the people and the environment.