The director-general of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, has restated that the agency was not created to stop products of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but to ensure that Nigerians and the environment are safe from any adverse impact they may have on human health and the environment.
It is important to state that the NBMA is charged with the responsibility of providing regulatory framework and institutional and administrative mechanism for safety measures in the application of modern biotechnology in Nigeria, with a view to preventing its adverse effects on human health, animals, plants and environment, he stated at a media briefing in Abuja.
“I have said it before and will say it again, the NBMA is very thorough in its dealings and before any approval is granted, the National Biosafety Committee and the National Biosafety Technical Committee meet to analyze, deliberate on the product which most times spans for two days and decisions are taken after careful and thorough analysis of the application. The NBMA does not act on its own as these committees comprise of experts drawn from sister agencies, line ministries, scientists, non-governmental organizations, farmers and many other expert stakeholders who after their review make their recommendation to the NBMA for further action,” he said.
He contended that the impact of the Nigerian biosafety authority had been felt all over the world since the inception of the agency in 2015, starting from the decision to approve Bt Cotton for environmental release in 2016 to the decision to approve PBR Cowpea for environmental release in 2019, insisting the NBMA had made decisions based on scientific facts for the benefit of the Nigerian people.
“I want to use this medium to assure Nigerians that the federal government through the agency is doing everything possible to ensure that we are all safe. Let me say this categorically that whatever the agency says is safe is indeed safe. Nigerians should learn to trust the federal government and allow the agency do what will be in their best interest. Nigerians need not be afraid as their health and wellbeing are paramount in the mind of the agency as they relate to biosafety,” he added.