The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has called on the Nigerian government to fund research institutions and agencies to carry out research that supports the nation’s seeds, agriculture and food systems.
HOMEF Director, Nnimmo Bassey made the call in his remarks at the Organisations Bio-safety Conference in Abuja.
According to Bassey” We are concerned because new techniques deployed in genetic engineering have risks beyond the ones posed by first generation modern biotechnology.
“Gene drives have the capacity of driving species to extinction- a direct and irreversible threat to Biosafety”
He said “while the world is grappling with understanding the implication of these technologies and what governance mechanisms to adopt, our Nigerian regulators and some lawmakers are pushing to open the way for them to be tested here, probably based on their unverified claims that Nigeria has the most qualified practitioners was well as the best-equipped laboratories in Africa”
“It is time for the Nigerian government to fund our research institutions and agencies so that they actually carry out researches that support our seeds, agriculture and food systems”
“We cannot continue to be a testing ground for risky technologies developed elsewhere. So far it is doubtful if any permits issued in Nigeria is for a variety genetically engineered in Nigeria, they are more likely all engineered elsewhere and brought here to be tested” he said
The activist reiterated that seeds, agriculture and food systems mirror and develop our culture. Adding that seed is life, food is life. Although food is consumed mainly for energy, nutrition, and health, its import clearly goes beyond just being things that humans ingest for such purposes.
He alleged that beyond to the GMO debacle in Nigeria is the quite push to have Nigeria sign into international seed laws that would further pressure our farmers and open the doors to corporate seed conglomerates to dominate and control our food systems.
HOMEF further alleged that in the past four years Nigeria has witnessed the influx of GMOs and products derived from these novel organisms with the claim of safety being premised on the arguments of GMO promoters that there is no scientific evidence that such products can be harmful to humans or to the environment
He added that the combination of GMOs and un-interrogated seed laws will constitute grave environmental harm and will intensify hunger, poverty and social inequality in the country. We must continue to question and reject both.
Source: Leadership Newspaper Nigeria