By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Director General of National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Rufus Ebegba, has renewed his call on all individuals, companies and institutions that are dealing on unapproved modern biotechnology activities and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria to formalize their dealings on or before 31 December, 2015 or face severe sanctions.
The Director General issued the warning Wednesday in Abuja, at a press briefing on the state of biosafety in Nigeria.
He noted that there are ample evidences of unapproved genetically modified organisms in Nigeria and stressed the need for those involved in the act to interface with the regulatory agency (NBMA) before the end of the year as such practices would no longer be allowed in the country.
He stressed that the National Biosafety Act is in full force and that any breach would be met with a severe punishment as the agency would not allow any act that could endanger the health and safety of Nigerian citizens to subsist.
‘‘All dealers on unapproved modern biosafety activities and GMOs have been requested by the Agency to formalize their dealings before the December 31 deadline as defaulters would be prosecuted as from January 2016.’’
As part of biosafety policy on commercialization of GMOs in Nigeria, the DG said any GMO farm that is up to 50 hectares would be required to establish 5 per cent of the land with trees adaptable to the area.
This he said was to increase Nigerian forest cover to render ecosystem services.
‘‘Nigeria is a peculiar nation, being a regulatory agency does not mean the agency should create a big gap between it and the proponents of modern biotechnology,’’ he added.