GMO Products Photo: Bohatala.Com

Groups urge Nigerian Government to ban genetically-modified crops, allege harm to consumers, economy

*Non-government organisations under the aegis GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance have staged a peaceful protest in Cross River State against the importation of genetically modified organisms crops, alleging ills of GM products to consumers, agriculture, local economies and food system in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Alleging that Nigerians ignorantly, are consuming foods bought from the market shelves without any idea that they are made from the genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and Peace Point Development Foundation, both non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating under the umbrella of GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance, have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ban all GM crops in the country.

The groups also staged a peaceful protest having placards with inscriptions, such as ‘Stop the contamination, ban GMOs now,’ Nigerians say No to GMOs,’ Review NBMA law now,’ No to GMOs, Yes to Life,’ among others, Blueprint report said.

After the protest which ended at the Cross River State Ministry of Environment, the groups presented a letter to that effect to be passed through Governor (Prof.) Ben Ayade of Cross River State for inward transmission to President Buhari in Abuja, FCT.

Mr. Ayuk Nyam, who stood in for Mfon Bassey, Commissioner for Environment, received the letter from the GMO-Free Nigeria Alliance organisation.

It was gathered the letter titled, “Urgent Need to Ban Genetically Modified Crops in Nigeria and Repeal the National Biosafety Management Agency Act”, enumerated the ills of GMOs to Nigerian consumers.

Signed by Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation and Umo Isua-Ikoh, Coordinator of Peace Point Development Foundation, the letter said: “GMOs are products of genetic engineering which is a technology that allows scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes at the cellular level in a way that is not possible via traditional or natural processes.

“It allows DNA from one type of organism to be introduced into another related or unrelated species.”

The Health of Mother Earth Foundation stated that “Nigerians are consuming foods bought from the market shelves without any idea that they are made from the genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“The manner in which these items are imported into the country calls for serious concern.”

The letter further noted: “Although the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has said illegal importation of GMOs into the country is being checked, these products are abundant in our market shelves as revealed by a survey which we carried out across major Nigerian cities between 2018 and 2020.

“Our campaign against GMOs is particularly against genetic modification of food crops and animals and any other genetic modification that will alter ecosystem balance, negatively impact our agriculture or destroy local economies and foods.”

According to Bassey, “majority of Nigerians are not aware of these GMOs in our food system and the toxic chemicals that some of them are engineered to withstand while killing everything else.”

He added: “Many are not aware of their implications on human and environmental health and on the livelihood of small-scale farmers.”

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