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Federal Government reassures Nigerians GMO foods safe for consumption

*The Nigerian Government relevant agencies reassure consumers, that Genetically-Modified Crops and products are not harmful to human and animal environments, but are safe for consumption, as they improve food security while reducing harmful pest control methods in agriculture

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government agencies have allayed Nigerian consumers’ fears over the safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) crops in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports the relevant agencies addressed the issue at a world press conference Thursday, July 4, 2024, in Abuja, FCT, to further sensitise Nigerians about the safety of GMO technology in agriculture.

The agencies nclude the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), National Biotechnology and Development Agency (NABDA), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), and National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

It is noted that the conference was in response to social media reports on possible negative effects of GMOs. The government agencies have described such negative reports about GMOs misinformation, and unfounded.

Speaking at the media briefing, Mr. Garba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary of ARCN, stated that a vast majority of studies had found no indication that GM foods posed a health threat to consumers.

Sharubutu noted that the scientific consensus was that gene-altered crops posed no more risks than those developed through conventional breeding techniques.

The Executive Secretary said:

“More than 275 independent science organisations worldwide have concluded that food grown from genetically engineered seeds poses no unique health concerns.”

He noted the ARCN is focused on preventing drought and flood resistance, and improving productivity through GMO crops in Nigeria.

He also reassured Nigerians that GMO crops were not banned, pledging to take their concerns seriously, as he declared that there is no cause for alarm.

In his remarks at the world press conference, Mr. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of NABDA, acknowledged the issue of GMO safety had sparked controversy due to misinformation and misunderstanding.

Mustapha, however, emphasised that the agency aims to alleviate public concerns, and dispel misinformation while promoting the advantages of GMO crops in the economy.

GMO crops, he averred, have the potential to revolutionise food security and environmental safety, ensuring a good supply of food for future generations.

Mustapha rather assured consumers, that GMOs are not harmful to human and animal environments but are safe for consumption, improving food security and reducing harmful pest control methods.

In his submission also, Mr. Khalid Ishiak, Acting Director-General of NASC, affirmed that GMO technology had been certified by Nigerian scientists and the agency.

Ishiak, therefore, urged Nigerian consumers to believe in their technological advancements.

He also stressed the significance of self-reliance in food production in the West African country.

According to Ishiak, the technology has undergone thorough scrutiny, prioritising safety without compromising.

In her remarks also, Ms. Agnes Asagbra, Director-General of NBMA, debunked the discouraging news reports on social media amid food insecurity in the country. Ms Asagbra assured citizens that the relevant government agencies are committed to ensuring the safety of Nigerian consumers.

The NBMA she stated, regulates biotechnology to ensure the safe practice of modern biotechnology, including GMOs and has ensured the safety of agri-biotechnology products in collaboration with other federal government agencies to ensure comprehensive safety measures.

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