Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba has revealed that the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) detection and analysis laboratory will be fully operational next year.
The DG gave the hint during a media chat in his office in Abuja, where he also lamented that the outcry about GMOs safety was based on misconception, stressing that the issue of biosafety was a transparent one.
According to him, “the GMOs detection and analysis laboratory will be fully operational next year. Laboratory does not have to be gigantic but it is equipped with the state-of-the-art facility. It can detect and tell you the kind of GMOs and what materials they are made of.”
He explained that, “the Act is very clear about GMOs, and it is mandatory for all the GMOs in the country to be labelled. For the super stores, the survey we carried out, let me make it clear to you today, we found out that some of them are actually labelled contained GMOs compliment.
“Why we requested that they should recall them from the shelves was because they were not approved by the agency, even the super stores do not even know what they were selling, and that does not mean that these products are bad,” the DG stressed.
He said while GM products coming into the country have been approved from the country they are coming from, they are needed to be approved again within the Nigeria legal system in order for the agency to confirm their status, either to approve or reject them; “it is on that bases that we give them directive.”
“If the products we are seeing on the shelves are not labelled, we have picked some of them for specimen to be analysed and the process is still on going, we want to be sure of what we are doing, be rest assured whether they are labelled or not it cannot curse any arm, the Nigerian public need not to be afraid whether anybody is selling GM products,” he added.
Ebegba explained that GMOs are not synthetic materials, they are normal crops, and normal organisms like any other plants, but there is something that has been added to it with the intention to improve it, to enhance it or to remove any effect of the particular organism.
“People keep saying Nigeria is not ready, Nigeria does not have the capacity, why do we continue to reduce the proficiency of Nigerians, Nigerians outside this country are performing wonders, why do you think that those in the country are not performing well. Nigeria scientists have the capacity to produce GMOs,” he said.