BY GABRIEL EWEPU
AN environment expert, Mr. Rufus Ebegba has raised alarm over the influx of Genetically Modified foods into the country through porous borders, as there was no law to safeguard the lives of the people.
Ebegba raised the alarm while speaking to newsmen at a one day workshop with theme, ‘Stopping the False Nutritional Kite & Understanding the Convention on Biological Diversity’, which was organised by Health Of Mothers Earth Foundation, HOMEF, for small scale farmers.
Ebegba said the country has become a dumping ground for genetically modified foods and organisms if there was no law regulating inflow of these products the country will end up to be a dumping ground as it is to other imported products.
Ebegaba said: “Thus Nigeria as a country, is meant to have a foreign policy,the danger is that if there is no law, Nigeria will consume any product that comes into the country, because Nigeria presently, imports agricultural products from countries that manufacture genetic modified foods, like Mexico, India and other countries.
“If Nigeria does not have a law, it means what we are consuming genetic modified organisms, and we cannot ascertain it. The golden rice sold and consumed by Nigerians is genetically modified. And I have said in my presentation that in a place where there is no law, offence is not committed.
“Nigeria will end becoming a consuming nation of genetically modified organisms or a dumping ground of genetically modified organisms.”
He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the National Bio-safety Management Bill is for an Act, to that ensure Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, which were products of modern biotechnology were safe for human consumption. The bill has sections for penalties for any offender who had refused to follow a particular laid down terms and conditions.
“The bill serves as a safety valve in the adoption of the modern biotechnology in the use of the product. If the bill is on ground with regulations in place, Nigeria can use the technology to enhance the economy, generate employment, and also make our farmers have more income.
“Without this bio-safety law in place I see Nigeria having serious problem in the next few years,” he added.
Meanwhile, in his paper entitled ‘Stopping the False National Kite’, Director, HOMEF, Architect Nnimmo Bassey, argued that Nigeria cannot accept genetically engineered foods despite the alleged move by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who had said Nigeria cannot be left behind in accepting genetically engineered foods.