The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has called for concerted efforts in ensuring safe application of modern biotechnology and use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Dr Rufus Ebegba Director-General (DG) NBMA made the call in a goodwill message to Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s diamond jubilee celebration in Abuja on Thursday.
Ebegba said that biosecurity must be ensured in the country.
He stated that the safe deployment of modern biotechnology products would ensure food security in the country, raise revenue, create employment opportunities and help in the diversification of the economy.
Ebegba said 60 years after independence, the country had done well in the areas of food production and the development of science and technology.
However, he said more still needed to be done as the country was still lagging behind in the area of technological advancement and food production, expected to contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
“The establishment of the NBMA in 2015 is to ensure adequate level of protection in the field of safe transfer, handling and use of GMOs, resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
“We need to build on this foundation by not allowing detractors to hijack the process for their selfish gains thus making Nigeria a dumping ground for unapproved GM products,” Ebegba said.
The DG said there were many global challenges which also affected Nigeria adding that addressing the challenges required the adoption of out of the box workable measures.
He said such measures included safe technologies to foster green economy and eliminate the factors that contributed to climate change, ensured conservation, and sustainable use of biological diversity .
” The country is on the right track in its bid to ensure that Nigerians are protected from harmful biological agents and uncertified GMOs.
“The NBMA is poised to ensure that Nigeria becomes self-reliant in the development and application of modern bio-technology based services,” Ebegba said.
He said the NBMA was currently developing regulations and guidelines on gene editing and biosecurity, in the bid to ensure that the country practiced safe technologies that would put her at par with her counterparts in the world.
“We can only achieve this when Nigerians learn to trust the NBMA and indeed the Federal Government and to believe that whatsoever the agency has declared safe is indeed safe for human health and the environment,” Ebegba said.