Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Rufus Ebegba, has said that the Federal Government is carrying out a survey of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that have entered Nigeria since 2009, saying if such harmful foods are found, they would be mopped out of the country.
The survey, according to Ebegba is to ascertain if any harmful GMO has entered the country in the period under review.
He said such harmful GMOs, if they exist will be mopped out of the market.
This is just as the agency has allayed fears that GMOs has health concerns for consumers of the produce.
Ebegba, who disclosed this Wednesday in Lagos, said the agency has requested that all applicants seeking to bring in the bio- technology product into Nigeria to formalize their application in order to have statutory control.
He said the clarification has become imperative because of controversies triggered in some quarters that the agency gave approval for Monsanto’s GMO in Nigeria.
He said there is nothing unusual about GMOs, entering Nigeria, because government will not support anything that could jeopardize the health and wellbeing her citizens.
He assured that there is no harmful GMO in the country, warning that those who would want to bring in any harmful sample will be severely sanctioned.
Ebegba wondered why some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), are against GMOs, saying that there is serious global monitoring of such technology by the United Nations.
He said there is nothing new about GMOs to warrant the concerns being raised in some quarters.
“There has been a lot of controversies about GMOs, Monsanto and the Agency. The Agency was established to ensure the safety of Nigerians as regards the use of genetically modified organisms and also the research that leads to their development.
“But I want to assure Nigerians that there is no GMO that will harm anyone in this country that will be released. There are sanctions. No one wants to go to jail not even for one day. If other countries accept what is wrong, we will not accept it.
“Already, we are doing a survey of all the GMOs that have entered this country before this act. And once they are found not good enough, we will find a way to mop them out of the market. We have requested them to formalize. Nigerians can be rest assured that the government has put in place all necessary things and they should not be lured into the war between two industries – bio-tech and agro-chemical company.
“Permit to Monsanto: that of corn is experimental and it would still take up to five years before the experiment can come into the market. Why are the NGO against GMO. Everyone has their own interests and whatever interest anyone has… GMO is not new and there are close monitoring everywhere. Nations, the United Nations are all monitoring. If GMOs are dangerous, will UN support it?” He queried.