By Nnimmo Bassey, Mariann Orovwuje, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour – HOMEF (Health of Mother Earth foundation), June 2016


NABMA ogaDespite the promise of the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril that “Nigeria would not mortgage the safety of its citizens by introducing unproven products into the country” and the concerted efforts by over 5 million Nigerians (made up of 100 groups comprising farmers, faith-based organizations, civil society groups, students and local farmers) to prevent the introduction of genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize into Nigeria’s foods and farming system, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has issued  two  permits, one for the Commercial Release and Placing on Market of genetically modified cotton and  the other for the confined field  trial  of maize, to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited.

The two permits have been posted on NBMA website. They were signed by the Director-General of NBMA, Mr. Rufus Ebegba on Sunday, 1st May, 2016 (a public holiday) and issued to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited. The first is entitled: “Permit for Commercial release/ Placing on Market of Cotton (MON15985) genetically modified for lepidopteran insect pest resistance” with Permit No: NBMA/CM/IM/001.

The second is entitled: “Permit for Confined Field Trial (CFT) of maize (NK603 and MON 89034 x NK603) genetically modified for insect resistance and herbicide tolerance” with Permit No: NBMA/C FT/001.

Reacting to the development, Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Mother Health Foundation – one of the groups in the front line of the resistance, “This is extremely shocking. Little wonder officials of NBMA, National Biotech Development Agency (NABDA) and their pro GMO train have been fighting tooth and nail to fool Nigerians by claiming that GMOs are safe! They approved the poorly concocted applications and issued these permits on a Sunday when government offices do not open. In fact, 2nd May was also a public holiday.”