By Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has cautioned those involved in or intend to be involved in the handling, importation or transfer of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to seek clarification and authorization from the Agency before doing so.
Rufus Ebegba, Director General of the Agency, said this was in line with the NBMA Act, Part VII which states that, “no person, institution or body shall import, export, transit or commercialize any genetically modified organism or a product intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing unless with the approval of the Agency”.
Ebegba in a statement issued on Thursday by Gloria Ogbaki, Head of Press Unit of the agency, advised all to abide by the law to avoid being sanctioned and re-assured Nigerians that their safety is the priority of the Agency as NBMA is an unbiased umpire.
He noted that the Act made it clear that any person, institution or body who wishes to import, export, transit or otherwise carry out contained activities, confined field trial, multi-locational trial or commercial release of a GMO shall apply to the Director General of NBMA prior to such activity.
Ebegba stressed that, “the NBMA is by this Act empowered to sanction any erring party for importing or releasing unauthorized genetically modified products, be it grain or any kind of seed as the case may be”.
The NBMA was set up to provide regulatory framework, institutional and administrative mechanism for safety measures in the application of modern biotechnology and its products (GMOs) in Nigeria with the view to preventing any adverse effect on human health, animals, plants and the environment.