Nigeria Approves New Policy for GMO Regulator

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(file photo).
21 December 2017

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Thursday approved a revised policy on the National Bio-Safety Management Agency.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, told State House correspondents that the agency is charged with the direct responsibility of monitoring and supervising the use of genetically modified organisms in the country.

Mr. Jibrin, who spoke after the conclusion of the FEC meeting, said people often mistake the agency for another agency in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology: National Bio-Technology Development Agency.

He said while the first one under the Ministry of Science and Technology is charged with the responsibility of doing research work and making a breakthrough on many things in the country, the national bio-safety agency under the Ministry of Environment, is a regulatory agency with the responsibility of checking the type of genetically modified food that could come into the country.

He said the regulation is to ensure that they are safe for consumption either for animals or humans and to ensure also that they do not displace our traditional products that are found locally in the country".

Mr. Jibrin said the policy memo which was approved Thursday has been around since 2006, predating even the establishment of the agency.

The minister said the agency was established by an act of parliament in the year 2015.

"So the policy has been in place before even the enactment of the law to establish the agency and because it has been around for more than a decade, we felt it is necessary to review it and bring it up to date and face the present reality so that as technology is developing rapidly, the policy framework that should be put in place to regulate and monitor effectively to ensure that our citizens are safe is what motivated us to bring this and thank God, the Council has approved the policy memo.

"So we have a new policy and the Attorney General of the Federation will take the necessary steps to bring it into force," he said without disclosing the specific details of the policy.

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