The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Rufus Ebegba has emphasised the importance of regulating modern biotechnology practices in the country towards achieving more farm yields and resultant food security.
He stressed this in Abuja while opening a training session for employees of the agency.
In his speech, the NBMA boss described biosafety as crucial to the economy, stating it will lead to more agricultural yields for food sufficiency and profits for farmers. He also identified the need to equip employees of the agency with proper regulation skills in order to avoid Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for unsafe Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), including crops.
Ebegba however noted that the agency was not established by government to stop Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), or promote them, but rather ensure they are safe to human health and the environment.
“The issue of biosafety has been on the front burner. Even the permits granted by the Agency last year have been criticised by many environmentalists. NBMA has been taken to court, but we are not deterred. Our key responsibility is to serve as an unbiased umpire to ensure that the practice of modern biotechnology is safe, while it boosts the economy.”
NBMA’s Director, Environmental Biosafety, Chinyere Nzeduru on her part, explained that issues of modern biotechnology were very technical and require people with up-to-date knowledge in carrying out biotechnology regulations in the country.