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Stakeholders reject amendment to Biosafety Act

By Haruna Salami

Stakeholders from National Biosafety Management Agency, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), All Farmers of Nigeria (AFAN)  have vehemently opposed proposed amendment to National Biosafety Act at a public hearing organised by Senate Committee on Environment Wednesday.

The stakeholders were of the view that the amendment, if passed by the upper chamber, it means science and technology will no longer drive the nation’s development.

In his presentation, the Director General/CEO, National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba said the current law took 13 years during the 5th and the 6th National Assembly to be actualised.

He said the law as it is, is adequate and we do not need an amendment, adding “It’s unfortunate that National Biosafety Management Agency was not consulted”.

Although he appreciated the enormous powers of the legislature to make or amend laws, but Dr. Ebegba regretted that the executive arm of the government saddled with the responsibility of implementing  such law was not consulted before this amendment.

The DG/CEO urged the National Assembly to “jettison this amendment”.

Speaking in a similar vein, Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha said to underscore the importance of technology in development, particularly genetically modified organisms, President Buhari assented to NABDA Bill on Thursday May 2l12, 2022.

He said the amendment being proposed will negatively affect the Biosafety Management Agency.

The All Farmers Association if Nigeria (AFAN) also outrightly rejected the amendment to NABDA Act.

National President of AFAN, Arc. Kabir Ibrahim said the amendment will negatively impact on the good security efforts of Nigeria.

According to him, “in Nigeria we have a deficit of 500,000 metric tones of food and we can only cover this through GMO”.

He said farmers embraced biotechnology because “it will take us out of poverty” adding “the amendment is inimical to food security”.

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