By Nnimmo Bassey – Premium Times, 4 July 2016

Nnimmo Bassey


During the 2014 Nigerian National Conference (Confab), three committees made recommendations with regard to the handling of Biosafety in Nigeria and with particular reference to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). As at the time of the Confab the National Biosafety Management Act 2015 (simply known as Biosafety Act 2015) had not yet been enacted. The Confab committees that considered Biosafety matters were the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, the Environment Committee and the Science, Technology and Development Committee.

The Biosafety Act came into force April 2015 after former President Goodluck Jonathan assented to the Biosafety Bill. Within a year of the Act, two permits have been issued to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Ltd for commercial release of Bt Cotton and for confined filed trails of GMO maize.

Farmers, consumers, faith based organisations, the media, community groups and other civil society groups, including Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) have expressed their rejection of the introduction of GMOs into Nigeria. The reasons for objecting to this development is that these crops would lead to a massive introduction of toxic chemicals into our environment, erode our biodiversity and entrap hapless farmers in the grip of the biotech industry.

We are encouraged that the Federal Ministry of Environment is considering a holistic look at the Biosafety situation in Nigeria, including the Biosafety Act itself. The recommendations of the Confab committees are weighty and it is germane for us to remind ourselves of what these committees recommended with regard to our biosafety and the matter of GMOs in Nigeria.



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