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Catholic Doctors Caution on GMOs

The Association of Catholic Medical Precatitioners of Nigeria urged Nigeria to observe the Precautionary Principle at a scientific conference it held July 6-8, 2017 in Port Harcourt. The theme of the conference was: “Genetically-Modified Organisms: How Harmful, Harmless or Beneficial?”

Speakers at the conference included: Dr. Rose Gidado (Nigeria chapter coordinator of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology who spoke on
Family and national food security ramifications of GMOs; HOMEF's Nnimmo Bassey who spoke on GMOs and Biosafety; representative of
Dr. Rufus Ebegba- Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency who spoke on Biosafety and the regulation of GMOs in developing countries; Prof. Best Ordinioha – The medical and health implications of GMOs; Prof. Victor Wakwe - Ethical perspectives on the introduction of GMOs in developing countries; Dr Kinsley Douglas – Retooling the community-based strategies to improve family health in Nigeria; Dr. A. Fajola – How best to involve medical doctors in health insurance to achieve universal health coverage; and Dr. Emmanuel Okechuwu – Bioethical approach to infertility management and introduction to NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology). At the opening ceremony,  a keynote address on the topic Let Us Exercise Caution in Trying to be Masters of the Earth was presented by the Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Port Harcourt, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Camillus Etokudoh. He was represented by Very Rev. Monsignor Dr. Pius Ki.

At the end of the conference, delegates issued a communique that cautioned the Federal Government over the deployment of genetic engineering technology (GMO) into Nigeria. 

Among other points, and in reference to official Nigerian promoting and regulating agencies, the conference pointedly noted that it appeared that in "both funding and technical capacity render them ill-equipped to effectively and efficiently carry out their essentially patriotic roles. In the current scenario, the processes of regulating GMOs are skewed in favour of the international promoters and merchants of GMOs who wield strong financial influences. Thus, without substantially exploiting the existing safe and natural technologies neither of agricultural advancements nor of our vast land and water resources (including the new pro-biotic microbial technology), dabbling into the controversial GMO technology is overtly precarious."

The conference raised a strong voice of caution over GMOs for the sake of present and future generations of Nigerians.