Sequel to a media report that the Federal Government and a firm have flooded the Nigerian market with Genetically Modified (GM) rice purported to be poisonous, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has described the report as false, insisting that GM rice has neither been imported nor released into the country.
Director-General of NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, who disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, stated that there was no iota of truth in the report.
Ebegba noted that there was no where in the world where any genetically modified rice has been released commercially, while also recalling that the government had already banned the importation of rice into the country.
“The purpose of calling you to this press briefing is to inform you that the attention of the NBMA has been drawn to a certain spurious online post being circulated in the social media that a firm and government of Nigeria has flooded the Nigerian market with GM rice purported to be poisonous. This falsehood definitely is the product of the writer’s imagination who probably in using pseudo a name.
“It will suffice to note that there is no GM rice that has been commercially released anywhere in the world. It should also be recalled that government has banned the importation of rice in Nigeria. This ban was widely publicised in the media and there no indications that the ban has been lifted,” he said.
Ebegba stressed that, in a bid to cast aspersions on the modest efforts of the government towards adoption of safe biotechnology in Nigeria, the writer “craftily and maliciously laced his post with poison” to cause unnecessary public panic.
The Biosafety boss explained that the reason for the misinformation was best known to whoever is spreading it, but added that there is a trade war between agro-chemical and biotechnology companies as well as organic farmers.
He appealed to the general public not to be lured into this trade war, saying Nigeria will set its standards and deploy enough hands and human resources to ensure that these standards are met to serve the nation’s aspiration.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the report and join hands with the agency in its quest to ensure safety in the practice of modern technology in Nigeria in line with global beat practices.
By Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja