The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has said it will deploy Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) detection kits on all borders to check the smuggling of the materials into the country.
The Director General of the agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said Nigeria’s borders were porous, hence the need to take such drastic step.
“We are working closely with line agencies, like the Nigeria Customs Service and other border agencies.
“We are going to provide some of the border agencies with simple detection kits, pick a piece of whatever they suspect, we put a little water, you know there is something like the litmus test, it will give you a particular color if its genetically modified.
“Then, they will have recourse to us and we will take further appropriate actions, the agency is still very small, and its growing, its working with other agencies to be able to achieve our mandate effectively.”
Ebegba said the mandatory function of the agency was to ensure total compliance with the conditions of biosafety, safe environment and health.
He reiterated the readiness of the agency to ensure total and holistic biosafety in the application of modern biotechnology in the country.
He advised Nigerians not to panic over the introduction of GMOs into the country’s food and farming system, saying Federal Government was working in their interest.
“They should eat whatever has been approved in this country; we assure them that nothing unsafe will be allowed into the Nigerian environment and the Nigerian market, and if they have any concern, they should come to the agency.
“Do not be allowed to be disturbed, to be panicked by fear, most of the controversies concerning Genetically Modified Organisms is as a result of trade war, when you develop some that does not require the use of chemicals, you must understand that some chemical companies will be affected.
“It’s a trade war and Nigerians will not be involved in the trade war, scientific evidence is what we work with, one thing is this, science bad technology are major drivers of change and Nigeria will be exploring this science and technology, the economy of our country will be fully boosted, and we will have a better living for all.’’
NAN reports that GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques to achieve a certain result.