…honours 5 journalists

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology, OFAB, said biotechnology will boost food production and create jobs along various agricultural value chains.

This was stated by the Country Coordinator, OFAB, Dr. Rose Gidado, at the 3 rd OFAB Media Award Ceremony 2019, held in Abuja.

According to Gidado, there have been false alarm raised against biotechnology, which has put fear in the hearts of farmers and Nigerians but has been proven false.

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She said: “In this century, applying innovative technology will take us farther than we had gone before. Science and technology have great potential to drive the kind of change we want to see in our continent. Thus, science and technology are at the base of solving our most pertinent problems, be they climate change, food insecurity, health, among others, towards ensuring sustainable development in Africa.

“We must, therefore, make sure that we do not allow frightening untrue stories about a proven technology to hinder our advancement. We must make use of science and technology to make Nigeria greater than she is today.”

According to her the successful environmental/commercial approval and adoption of two genetically modified crops including cotton and cowpea are proof that Nigerians want a better country and won’t be detracted by myths that have proven false, time and again.

Meanwhile, the organization in its recognition of the collaboration with the media in Nigeria to enlighten the public about the technology in reportage and impact made gave award to some journalists including Abdullahi Tsanni of African News Page, Juliana Agbo of Leadership Newspaper, Collins Nnabuife of Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, Josiah Buzun and Blessing Itumo of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN.

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She also explained essence of the awards which is in its third series as to “celebrate the tremendous work that journalists have done as well as to recognize the important role of the media in shifting public opinion to take Nigeria out of the recesses of dormancy by giving a voice to the truth and disseminating original scientific research and findings.”

She further stated that “Over the past few years, the media has been an ally in the communication of credible scientific facts surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They have worked with us in demystifying genetic modification technology and encouraging our people especially farmers, grassroots communities, civil society groups, lawmakers, judiciary, and policymakers on the power as well as the efficacy of this technology.

“Nigerian journalists have dominated the last two editions of the OFAB Africa award at the continental level having won the best and overall prizes, to say that we are proud would be an understatement. Hence, I will like to use this opportunity to encourage every journalist present here today to continue to keep up the good work and to ensure that the truth remains their watchword.

“This award, which is the 3rd of its kind, is celebrated annually across the seven OFAB host countries in Africa-Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, is aimed at recognizing the talents and efforts of journalists so as to motivate them to shine in their reportage of modern biotechnology. Awards, generally, are a great way to encourage good behavior and inculcate a healthy competitive spirit among individuals and organizations.

“On this premise, OFAB Africa organizes an award ceremony every year to encourage journalists and motivate them to do their best. Hence, we are here to give away this year’s awards in three categories, namely; Best TV, Best Radio, and Best Print.”

Meanwhile, the keynote address, which was delivered by the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Academy of Science, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, said that the impact of science cannot be overemphasized because of the amazing way it adds value to human life and the environment, and can project rapid change desired in the country.

“In this century, applying innovative science will take us farther than we have gone.

“The best way to prevent a subject from becoming controversial is to use verifiable information, in context, from reliable sources – truthful, accurate, and thorough and complete reporting.

“Today, successes in vaccination and management of diabetes all over the world are as a result of the application of genetic modification”, he added.

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Also, several goodwill messages were given by heads of organizations including the Regional Director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation, AATF, Dr. Abdourhamane Issoufou Kollo, who said there is no gainsaying that communication remains the bedrock to bring the expected change in all sectors as far as science and technology is concerned.

Also the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, who in his goodwill message said, “We are fully in support of biotechnology and there is no doubt about that and that is the way forward to develop the country especially in food production and food security.

“And in doing so we appreciate the role of government for bringing into existence biotechnology development and biosafety.

“The two work hand in hand. One regulates while the other develops and in doing so it ensures that is safe and anything that would come into the country for which we don’t know.

“Even though you are against GMO it should be protected from GMO coming in.  The role that the government has put these two agencies in place is to protect us. We will give them the maximal support so that we can move this country forward.”


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