The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) says it was providing effective guidelines to improve Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for a strong biosafety system in the country.
This was in addition to program policies and processes, according to Dr. Rufus Ebegba, the agency’s chief executive.
He was speaking at a review meeting of the National Guidelines Project on Genetic Stacking Genetically Modified Plants, held in Abuja.
Ebegba said the agency was working on how to improve the system, guidelines and programs to have a strong national biosafety system.
According to him, the agency wanted to give guidelines that would always be a testament to who we are as a transgenic country.
“GMOs are organisms whose genetic material has been technologically modified.
“We see it from the fact that genes have various interactions; when two genes are placed in an organism, they interact within themselves and also inside the organism.
“We really want to know, so that we can establish whether these are the ones that are harmful to humans and the environment.
“We will also see the problems of stacking genes, stacking products that have already been genetically modified and also those that have not been.
“So the guidelines we want to review will give us, especially developers of GMO products, a better understanding of what we need to do.
“We need to understand this and then put it in black and white so that there are no arguments when we come up with such guidelines.
“We select participants based on the perception of their skills and their understanding of the issues.
“We see our biosecurity system as a living system that we will continue to modify, when there is a need for modification.
“We face challenges from time to time, we have to use our experiences that we have already gained over the years to overcome them,” he said.
Ebegba advised all the participants to engage in the delivery of the commission and ensure to defend the technology, in order to promote the development of the country.
National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) logo
According to him, our statement described the fact that we defend GMOs or defend modern biotechnology.
“The federal government creates institutions to promote and develop technology and then come up with better products that would improve development.
“Additionally, the government created the NBMA to ensure processes and products were safe. We will always hold our heads high, all the GMOs we have approved so far we can attest to are safe.
The CEO also encouraged agency staff to be proactive in fulfilling their mandate.
“Let’s do our best because internationally, our documents show what we are as a nation.
“Furthermore, our materials are a model for other countries to learn about, work with, and meet their own national needs.
“So I also think these guidelines would do the same thing.
“The agency was created to improve environmental sustainability, to serve the good of our people, and to encourage scientists to do better in their fields,” he said.
Mr. Mathew Dore, National Coordinator, Biosafety System Programme, said the essence of the revised guidelines was to share the progress made so far with some of the stakeholders.
Dore said the guidelines would help create the legal and administrative framework that would ensure Nigeria would benefit.
He said that the program for a biosafety system was a capacity building program for economic growth.
The program will provide technical support, with relevant stakeholders, as such it will promote the adoption and use of biotechnology, he added.
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