14 November 2017

Nigeria to Send Back 90 Tonnes Imported Genetically Modified Maize

Photo: Premium Times

The National Biosafety Management Agency, NBMA, said it has, in conjunction with the Nigerian Customs Service, ordered that the genetically modified (GM) maize consignment illegally imported into Nigeria be sent back.

Rufus Egbegba, the Director-General of NBMA, said this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.

"In view of the information and facts on ground, the agency, in fulfilment of its mandate and in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service, ordered the repatriation of the maize consignment with immediate effect," he said.

He recalled that in October, the agency was informed of the importation of a large maize consignment.

Mr. Egbegba said: "The NBMA had to step in to avert the release of the maize consignment into the country due to the failure of the importing company to obtain a GM seed import permit from the NBMA," he said.

"Representatives of the company were invited to provide more information on the GM status of their import, after which the NBMA proceeded to obtain samples and conduct laboratory tests to ascertain the GM status of the imported maize.

"The results of the analysis and the tests by an independent laboratory of six samples showed categorically that the maize imports were actually genetically modified maize."

The director-general stressed that the NBMA was proactive and would not tolerate any illegalities or shortcuts in its efforts to protect the lives of Nigerians and the integrity of their environment.

"The essence of ensuring that permit is granted before the release of any genetically modified seed, grains, or organisms is to ensure that risks assessment is carried out to ascertain their safety to the environment and human health," he said.

Mr. Egbegba, therefore, advised all stakeholders to abide by the extant biosafety laws to avoid any form of sanction.

"The advice is in line with the NBMA Act, Part VII.

"It states that no person, institution or body shall import, export, transit or commercialise any genetically modified organism or product intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing unless with the approval of the Agency.

"The NBMA is by this Act empowered to sanction any erring party for importing or releasing unauthorised genetically modified products, be it grains or any kind of seed, as the case may be.

"The Act made it clear that any person, institution or body that wishes to import, export, transit or otherwise carry out such activities, or undertake confined field trial, multi-locational trial or commercial release of a GMO, shall apply to the Director-General of NBMA prior to such activity."

Mr. Egbegba assured the citizens that their safety was the priority of NBMA and urged them to see the agency as a dependable body that could protect their interests.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Nigeria Customs Service recently impounded 90 tonnes of GM maize, valued at about $10 million, which was illegally imported into the country through the Apapa seaport in Lagos.

The GM maize was reportedly imported from Argentina.

(NAN)

Nigeria

Nigeria Mosque Suicide Bombing Kills Dozens

A suicide bomber has killed at least 50 people in the Nigerian town of Mubi, with the death toll expected to rise… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Premium Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.