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DG NABDA Commends Journalists For Integrity, Professionalism In Agric Biotech Reportage

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Biotech Journo
The director-general, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha (middle) flanked by a cross section of agency officials and journalists during the media parley in Abuja.

In a year marked by challenges, the director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha expressed gratitude and commendation for journalists’ steadfast commitment to delivering agricultural biotechnology news with integrity and professionalism.

Speaking at an end-of-year meeting at NABDA’s headquarters in Abuja, Mustapha acknowledged the invaluable role journalists played in keeping the public well-informed.

“Your resilience and dedication have played a crucial role in our collective success. Your stories have not just informed but have also inspired and sparked important conversations within our community. Your response to our call each time we requested your attention is a demonstration of how far the relationship we have built with you and, by implication, the public,” stated Mustapha.

Reflecting on the historical challenges of bringing journalists and scientists together to discuss the controversial subject of Biotechnology in Nigeria, Mustapha emphasised the urgent need for scientific and technological tools to address the country’s food security challenges. With Nigeria’s population expected to surpass 400 million by 2030, the role of Biotechnology in increasing crop yields, resilience and nutrition on existing farmlands becomes paramount.

For years, misinformation, especially targeting genetically modified organisms (GMOs), dominated public narratives about modern biotechnology. Mustapha noted that the voices of naysayers gained prominence due to the lack of identifiable platforms for scientists to counter misinformation effectively.

“Many years down the line, we are glad to note that the public has been offered a fair share of scientifically proven information that has countered the wrong narratives peddled by anti-GMOs. The journey to liberate the public from mental slavery against modern biotechnology began with the approval of the National Biotechnology Policy in April 2001, followed by the establishment of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) a few months later,” the director-general added.

Established under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NABDA has the mandate to implement government policies promoting, coordinating, and setting research and development priorities in biotechnology for Nigeria. Mustapha outlined NABDA’s vision to make Biotechnology the engine of growth for Nigeria’s socio-economic development, addressing challenges in food security, job/wealth creation, affordable healthcare delivery and a sustainable environment.

“While survey results indicate that the Nigerian public is still marginally aware of biotechnology, we are pleased to state that we have made remarkable progress over the years,” concluded Mustapha.

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