By Patrick Ugeh in Abuja
The federal government has ordered super-stores operators in Nigeria to withdraw all genetically modified (GM) products from their shelves within the next seven days or face sanctions from the regulatory body.
Accroding to a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday by Ovuakporie Efe, Head of Press, the warning was issued by the Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, in a meeting with representatives of super-stores operators last Friday in Abuja.
The Director General said the meeting was aimed at creating awareness among the operators on the biosafety regulations guiding the importation of GM products into the country.
He said the warning became imperative because most of the super-stores get their supplies from countries that have long adopted the production and sale of genetically modified foods.
Teh DG stated that the agency had received complaints from Nigerians that some of these stores may have been selling GM foods.
Ebegba added that the consequences of continuing to sell GM products after the expiration of the seven days’ ultimatum may be very dire as the warning is not without legal backing.
“There is a law in place. We will not want any segment of the society out of ignorance to act in manners that will infringe on the existing law. The Act establishing the NBMA empowers the agency to regulate the activities of modern biotechnology and the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs),” he stated.
Ebegba noted that the idea that Nigerian laws are not enforced and implemented by government agencies should be completely ruled out because the NBMA would not hesitate to shut down any super-store that contravenes the Act.
He therefore called on the operators to formalise their dealings by obtaining the necessary permits for future imports of GM products.