Experts in the field of public health are urging for a thorough review of the process involved in approving Genetically Modified crops in Nigeria, expressing concerns about the safety and testing protocols used in the approval process.

genetically modified crops
genetically modified crops

This call for reevaluation comes amid ongoing debates regarding the potential impact of GM crops on human health and the environment.

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In January 2024, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) granted a certificate for the commercial release and open cultivation of TELA Maize, a genetically modified crop engineered to resist fall armyworm, stem borers, and withstand moderate drought conditions.

However, Prof. Qrisstuberg Amua, the executive director of the Centre for Food Safety and Agricultural Research (CEFSAR), emphasized the need for transparency and public scrutiny in the approval process, especially considering the widespread consumption of these crops.

Speaking at a symposium on Food Security Today and Tomorrow in Abuja, Prof. Amua urged both Nigerians and regulatory bodies to address several critical questions regarding the safety testing of TELA maize.

These questions include the nature of the tests conducted, the number of varieties tested, the research facilities involved, and the identities of the Nigerian scientists responsible for conducting these tests.

Additionally, Prof. Amua stressed the importance of making the results and methodologies of these tests publicly available, ideally through publication in scientific journals for peer review.

He called on the government and lawmakers to reconsider the hasty approval of TELA maize and advocated for a more comprehensive research approach that takes into account the long-term effects on public health and genetics.

Nnimmo Bassey, the director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), echoed these concerns, stating that the proliferation of GMOs in Nigeria could lead to a loss of biodiversity and food sovereignty.

Bassey, represented at the event by Mariann Bassey, called for a complete ban on all GMOs in Nigeria and encouraged farmers to adopt agroecology farming methods using indigenous seeds.

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