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GMOs: Ogbeh wants scientists to advise government on way forward

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has called on Nigerian scientists to advise the Federal Government on the acceptability or otherwise of Genetically Modified Orgsnisms (GMOs).

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh

Ogbeh made the call on Saturday, January 20, 2018 during a working visit to the Agricultural and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.

The minister said that opinion from indigenous scientists on the matter, would help form government decisions on the acceptability or otherwise of the organisms.

According to him, there has been so much debate on GMOs.

“Genetic modification has been greeted with skepticism in Europe. It has been seen with suspicion in Africa. Within the reality of science and the anxiety of sentiments, you the academics must tell us which one is safe or not.

“I am not a scientist, I am just a farmer. Is GMO safe, should we suspect it, should we embrace it, should we engage it, is there a ploy by those who engineer it to take over the seed business worldwide?

“Does it threaten our future stability? What do we lay men do with GMOs, should we allow genetically modified grains into this country either for use or planting materials? Please help us out,” he appealed.

Earlier, Prof. Ibrahim Abubakar,  Director of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), said the institute had released 17 varieties of improved cowpea, 13 varieties of cotton, 26 varieties of groundnut, and 54 varieties of maize among others.

Abubakar, however, appealed for increased support from the ministry and the Federal Government to enable the institute achieve its research targets in 2018.

By Ginika Okoye

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