Director General National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA, Mr Rufus Ebegba, has said that Biotechnology is a veritable tool for economic advancement and self sufficiency in food production.
Ebegba made this assertion yesterday in Abuja while inaugurating a 6-man Technical Committee charged with the responsibility of reviewing the application dossier for the release of Genetically Modified Cotton for on farm trial and Maize for confined field trial.
He explained that setting up the Committee was apt as it would ensure the safety of the products both to human health, animal health and the environment.
The Director General maintain that when correctly used the modern technology have the potential of reducing pest problems with economic and environmental benefits.
“Though the best technology is used in the production of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, but this can only be done within the confines of the law to ensure that the GMOs have no adverse effects” he said.
He therefore charged the Committee to be thorough and diligent in the consideration of the applications and take decisions that would promote the wellbeing of the country bearing in mind that the National Biosafety Management Agency has the responsibility to create and monitor the biosafety standards that must be met in order to prevent any accidental release of potentially harmful biological materials.
Ebegba said that as regulators, the NBMA would not compromise standards, stressing that the role of the Agency is not to promote GMOs but safety of genetically modified organisms. “I will only defend what I know is safe, I will only sing the song of safety” he added.
In his remarks, the representative of the African Biosafety Network of Experts, ABNE, an affiliate of NEPAD, Samuel Timpo commended the Federal Government for the holistic approach adopted to ensure safety in the use of modern technology.
Timpo, who lauded the initiative , as giant of Africa, once Nigeria gets it right, it will change the face of Africa in the area of GMOs and therefore charged the Committee to borrow copiously from established global best practices in the consideration of the applications.
Membership of the Committee are drawn from, the academia, federal ministries and agencies.
It has two applications before it from Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria ltd for the environmental release and commercial placement of Bt Cotton into Zaria and its environs and the confined field trail of genetically modified maize into multiple locations in Nigeria.

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