Environment

Nigeria has what it takes to be bio-safe – Minister

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By Fortune Abang

Minister of State for the Environment Sharon Ikeazor says Nigeria has what it takes to be safe and thrive in terms of biosecurity.

Ikeazor said this at a one-day stakeholder conference on the state of biosafety in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Minister was represented by Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director General / CEO of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

The event was hosted by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an NGO, to examine the food system, biosecurity and emerging technologies with a view to defining systems that work.

Ikeazor expressed disappointment with the idea by some Nigerians that the government always made bad policies, saying that no government would want to do anything against the interests of its citizens.

“We have enough scientific knowledge and evidence to decide whether or not these products are biosafety before they are released.

“If any genetically modified products come out, I can tell you that these are only the ones that are safe, no product will go into your garden and come out.

“It takes 13 years to offer a safe product; any product that we have approved for a free trial, for food or feed, we have confirmed them to be safe.

“The safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which will ever be released in this country cannot be questioned and consuming them will make us healthy after we confirm them.

“The federal government has what it takes to make Nigeria safe and prosperous, Nigerians must trust its government,” she said.

Speaking at the event, HOMEF director Dr Nnimmo Bassey urged the government to review its national biosafety policy to avoid gene editing and meet targets.

Meanwhile, Joyce Ebebeinwe, HOMEF Program Officer, stressed the need for a policy review to address food security challenges.

“With growing threats to biodiversity and a pandemic like COVID-19 ravaging the world, we face challenges.

“We also face an opportunity to redefine structures and chart the course for a healthy, resilient and sustainable food system,” said Ebebeinwe.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN), reports that a roundtable on biosafety, biosafety and ethics and assessing existing biosafety legislation and regulations, also took place as part of the event. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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