Nigerian Biosafety Agency, NBMA’s Response to NAFDAC On Genetically Modified Foods

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In a leaked memo obtained by an online news media as claimed, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA)  asked National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to retract the statements it made on GMOs which “is the distinct mandate of NBMA.” 

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had recently, during an interview on Arise News Television, said that GMOs products are not safe for human consumption.

Adeyeye said that though NAFDAC had not conducted extensive research on the safety of GMO products, the agency did not have evidence to show that GMO products like maize and tomatoes are safe for human consumption. 

The NAFDAC boss who said that GMOs could be used for non-food crops including to make sure that timber grows better, for furniture, for rubber plantation, things like, stressed that for human consumption, there is no evidence from NAFDAC that it is safe.

But reacting to Adeyeye’s claim, the Director General of NBMA, Dr Agnes ‘Yemisi Asagbra, said that the comments of the NAFDAC boss are troubling as they undermine and cast aspersions on the mandate and functions of the NBMA. 

Asagbra stressed that NBMA was a legally constituted Nigerian agency established to regulate the approval and safe use of all genetically modified organisms in the country and provide regulatory framework, institutional and administrative mechanism for safety measures in the application of modern biotechnology and emerging modern biotechnologies in Nigeria with the view to preventing any adverse effects on human health, animal, plants, and the environment as well as to put in place measures to ensure biosecurity.

She said, “The views you expressed appears to discredit the hard work and integrity of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) and its several renowned stakeholders and experts for which your Agency is one. 

“You may wish to note that the NBMA is established by the Federal Government to provide regulatory framework, institutional and administrative mechanisms in the handling of modern and emerging biotechnologies and the products thereof with a view to preventing any adverse effect on human, animal, plants and the environment, including putting measures in place to ensure biosecurity in Nigeria.

” It is completely misleading for the Director General of NAFDAC to categorically state on a National Television that GMOs are not safe, having admitted that her Agency has not carried out research, do not have the competency and of course, do not have the mandate to carry out any study to determine GMOs’ safety. You may wish to be reminded that: 

“NBMA is the Federal Government Agency empowered by law to have the professional competencies and the technical wherewithal to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and to handle all GMO related matters in accordance with relevant subsisting laws in the country, international conventions and best practices and standards.

“At NBMA, we strongly uphold and cherish inter-agency collaborations for effective biosafety management in Nigeria. We believe that participation, open communication and cooperation are essential in our efforts to regulate and ensure safety of GMOs for all. NBMA values this collaborative relationship with NAFDAC and other relevant regulatory agencies and stakeholders and, have strived to maintain a partnership based on mutual respect and shared goals.”

Asagbra further stated that for the avoidance of doubt further misinformation the National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency wishes to state that the National Biosafety Management Agency is the only competent Federal agency with the mandate to regulate GMOs in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with the NBMA Act 2015 (Amended 2019).

According to her, “It is indisputable that the public’s perception of the Agency and that of the Federal government of Nigeria’s position has been severely discredited by this falsehood from a purported sibling agency, intentionally or unintentionally casting aspersion on its credibility and effectiveness. This indeed is not acceptable as it has harmed not just NBMA’s reputations but also the public’s confidence in the regulatory framework that we both strive to maintain. To put it mildly, NBMA is worried about the possible effects this might have on the trust of the stakeholders we work with.

“Based on the foregoing, I earnestly call on the DG of NAFDAC to as a matter of urgency admit and recant this glaring gap in knowledge and position of the Federal government of Nigeria in the regulation of the practices of modern biotechnology and handling of GMO related matters by NBMA in collaboration with other relevant Agencies in Nigeria. This will go a long way in addressing the obvious misconception and misrepresentation that your statements in that interview might have caused concerning the issue on the front burner (GMOs), thereby setting the record straight, please.”

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  1. avatar
    Prince Odor says:

    I write this comment as one who has researched into the status of GM foods —- that is SAFE or NOT SAFE.
    I state that my independent, thorough, blind (not discriminate or predetermined), hence honest research gives me the authority to assert CATEGORICALLY that NO GM foods has been certified SAFE for consumption by any person by any group of INDEPENDENT food safety actual researchers anywhere in the world.

    Therefore, I CHALLENGE the DG of NABMA to tell Nigerians which GM foods have been certified SAFE, which company or institute developed the GMO, which group of actual researching experts certified them safe, and whether it is a one case fits ALL or based on case by case safety study.
    He should also present the clinical study for which should be attached where the clinical study took place, who carried it out and who were the volunteers for the study.
    Finally, he should provide EVIDENCE OF VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION OF IT by a completely INDEPENDENT group of experts on food safety

  2. avatar
    Prince Odor says:

    NO GM Food is SAFE for consumption.

    This is the result of ALL safety studies carried out

    Any person who says that GM foods are safe should provide his or her EVIDENCE

    1. avatar
      Amina Abba says:

      Exactly what NAFDAC DG opined but there is need for a round table discussion on this. So that both sides is giv n opportunity to defend their opinion “for or not for”.

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