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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

I never said GMO critics are terrorists – NBMA’s Director-General

Director-General (DG), National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, has denied reports attributed to him that Nigerians who are against genetically modified organism (GMO) products are terrorists.

Dr Rufus Ebegba
Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA)

Ebegba made the clarification on Friday, November 12, 2021, in Abuja in a statement signed by Gloria Ogbaki, Head Media and Communications of NBMA, after a review meeting of the draft national guidelines on genetically modified plants with stacked genes.

The report stemmed from a workshop held on Oct. 25 organised by the Environment Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria.

During the workshop, the DG allayed fears of the public about the risk of consuming approved GM products like TELA maize.

“I never made that statement. What I said was that only those who create fear and try to intimidate people are terrorists.

“People are bound to give their views on issues, but it should be rightly reported,” he said.

Ebegba urged journalists to always confirm information and be sure of their facts before dishing out stories to the public.

He said that NBMA had developed guidelines for stacked genes that had more than one gene.

“The stacking of GMO events is the process of combining two or more events of interest into a plant.

“It can be achieved through conventional breeding or molecular technique

“The conventional breeding is when you combine traits from two or more GMO events, while molecular technique involves the insertion of new recombinant DNA into the genome,” Ebegba said.

He explained that the guidelines were to define the modules of assessment for products that are stacked, such as maize, yam and others.

Ebegba said those who are interested in the products should apply for biosafety permit before they are released to the Nigerian environment.

By Patience Longyen

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