Director-General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, has assured Nigerians of safe consumption of approved Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the country.
Ebegba gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen at a five-day workshop on Basic Laboratory Training on Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) Detection and Identification in Abuja.
The workshop is designed to provide participants with new GMOs/LMOs analysis as well as hands-on-experience in the performance of relevant laboratory methods.
According to Ebegba, all the GMOs that the agency has granted approval for are safe for consumption.
“I can tell you that authoritatively, they are not harmful; the ones we confirmed safe are, therefore, Nigerians need not to worry.
“Once they are labelled and we confirmed them safe, you can make your choice and use.’’
“NBMA has commenced surveillance to ensure that only safe GMOs are sold in the super stores, we do not want any product that is not safe to be in our stores, markets and environment.
“We are serious about this, once we discover any store that does not comply with the directive; we will take necessary legal measure.
“Also, we will not hesitate to seal such stores or markets and prosecute those behind the illegal act,’’ he said.
Ebegba, however, said that the essence of the training was for the participants to be able to get proficiency in identifying GMOs.
He said the training would also equip the participants to identify anything that contained tran-gene i.e that has been modified in the way that is beyond its nature composition.
“The detention of GMOs is important to enable us know which one has been approved safe, which one has been confirmed safe before consumption.
“We don’t want to have all GMOs in our environment that we have not confirmed their safety for human health and to the environment,’’ the director-general said.
The five-day workshop, which ends on Friday, September 20, 2019, is being hosted by National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), with support from NBMA.
It is also being supported by the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Italy, and Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada.
No fewer than 30 participants are attending the workshop from various countries across the globe
By Cecilia Ologunagba