Groups advocating against the introduction of Genetically Modified Foods into the food system have called on the Nigerian Senate to convene a public hearing on the proposed bill to review the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Act.
The Groups which include GMO-Free Nigeria, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), and others, made the call when they applauded the Senate for considering a bill to review the NBMA Act.
The groups, in a press statement made available to BONews Service, noted that the review would be in the overall interest of protecting food safety and public interests in Nigeria.
The groups also stressed that the public hearing would allow other Nigerians to add their voices in support of the path the Senate has chosen by presenting their concerns, views, and evidence before the Senate on why there should be stronger and more stringent conditions for admittance of any product that is unknown to the Nigerian households.
“We need truly innovative and culturally relevant systems such as agroecology that protect and enhance ecosystems, support smallholder farmers while cooling the planet, increasing productivity, and promoting food sovereignty.
“Nigerians should support the Senate in the move towards protecting our food varieties and ensuring that GMOs are not forced on our people without their knowledge of what they are planting or eating,” the groups added.
Nnimmo Bassey, the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation added that promoting food safety and security/sovereignty is a mandate that rests not just on the Biosafety Management Agency but also on the entire public and thus public opinion must be duly considered in decision making processes concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
On his part, the Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, said, “We strongly believe that scientific integrity and social responsibility and accountability are not negotiable, and no technology should be exempted from these values.
“Those saddled with the duty of protecting our food must look away from the industrial yield-output paradigm and adopt a more integrated, systems approach to food and agriculture that takes into consideration many factors, including local food security and sovereignty.”