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Monday, March 27, 2023

Court asked to declare permits for GM cotton, maize illegal

Seventeen non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have jointly dragged the Federal Government before an Abuja Federal High Court, over permits allegedly issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize in Nigeria.

The GM Bt Cotton

The groups, led by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), are asking the court to declare as null and void the permits granted Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited for the commercial release of BT Cotton (MON 15985).

They are also asking for the revocation of the permit allegedly granted the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) for the confined field trial of NK603 and MON89034X NK 603 Maize in Nigeria.

According to the groups, the permits given to Monsanto were issued on May 1, 2016, a Public Holiday being Sunday and Workers Day were “illegal, null and void.” They also contended that the permit issued to NBDA violates the fundamental human rights of the general public.

They are therefore asking the court for a perpetual injunction to restrain both Monsanto and NBDA from carrying out any activity or further activity pursuant to those permits.

Listed as defendants in the suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/846/201) are: NBMA, the Minister of Environment, Monsanto, NABDA, Minister of Agriculture, the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Agency for Foods Drugs and Administration (NAFDAC).

The groups averred that the issuance of the permits to both Monsanto and NABDA constitute threat to the fundamental human rights of the general public and a breach of the 1999 Constitution as amended in 2011.

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