This track asks the basic question: why are people hungry? It also looks at why obesity is increasingly becoming a problem in the world today. HOMEF works in the paradigm of food sovereignty and exposes the false premises of food aid and its exploitative and contaminating linkages
The Nigerian Bar Association in Edo State and HOMEF held a stakeholders meeting on the National Biosafety Management Act (2015) in Benin City. At the end of deliberations, they raised critical issues and concerns with regard to GMOs and the Biosafety Management Act. They also brainstormed on the increased aggressive push of the biotechnology companies in partnership with their local collaborators in Nigeria to ensure favourable legislations as a step towards unleashing their products and commodities on Nigerian. They cited several fault-lines in the permissive NBMA Act requiring that the entire Act be urgently reviewed and the GMO permits issued withdrawn.
The controversy surrounding the 260 km Superhighway proposed by the Cross River State government (CRSG) of Nigeria will not go away. Notably, the bulldozing of forests, farmlands and sundry properties commenced last year without an approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Curiously, the government issued an edict dispossessing individuals and communities of lands lying within an incredible 10 km width on either side of the proposed superhighway.Genderdeforestationminority rightsClimate changedispalcements
This ‘high caliber’ group of scientist came to their conclusion by, and I quote: “The academy’s stance was informed by existing evidence from the industrialised countries, which have carefully followed laid-down principles for such activities.”
One must then question the relevance of the Academy of Science. Especially scientists that are not even curious to research the works of several scientists that have highlighted the ills associated with GMO food consumption. GMOs have been in circulation for over 20years and there is good reason why they are still enmeshed in so much controversy...
Why is NAS a stakeholder in GMO? Are they not supposed to be an independent organisation responsible for helping the advancement of science and technology? Does their stakeholder position not introduce some sort of bias favouring GMOs already?
HOMEF and other concerned groups are concerned that our regulatory agencies, such as NBMA and he NationalAgency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) may use the cover of "non official release of GMOs" to avoid monitoring the markets and thus allowing illegal flooding of our markets with risky and unhealthy GMOs
"If NBMA has the laboratories and capacities it prides itself to have it should immediately audit all suspected food products in the Nigerian market, including those distributed to IDPs. Once suspicion is raised, it is results from laboratories that we want to hear about. The risk of contamination is always there and cannot be wished away," Bassey added.
It cannot be the duty of government to sensitise Nigerians about the desirability of GMOs. Government has a duty to assure Nigerians that we have a sound and truly robust Biosafety Act that they can depend on for environmental and food safety. The biotech promoters should campaign for funding from government to carry out their experiments in their laboratories and continue to build knowledge and expertise. We are fed by smallholder farmers and experts assure that it will remain so into the future. GMOs are not silver bullets that solve all problems. Our farmers need extension services, rural infrastructure and access to markets. We must learn from the failure of GMO cotton in India, Pakistan, Burkina Faso (watch the video) and elsewhere. Having experts make excuse for a failing and risky technology cannot be said to be the best way to do science.BiosafetyGMOsFoodbiotechnology
During the 2014 Nigerian National Conference (Confab), three committees made recommendations with regard to handling of Biosafety in Nigeria and with particular reference to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). As at the time of the Confab the National Biosafety Management Act 2015 (simply known as Biosafety Act 2015) had not yet been enacted. The Confab committees that considered Biosafety matters were the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee, the Environment Committee and the Science, Technology & Development Committee.
The Biosafety Act came into force April 2015 after former President Goodluck Jonathan assented to the Biosafety Bill. Within a year of the Act, two permits have been issued to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Ltd for commercial release of Bt Cotton and for confined filed trails of GMO maize.
The fact that GMOs are approved to be grown in Nigeria is not in doubt. What is disputed is why the approval was surreptitious, to the extent of being issued on a Sunday. We have issues with the press statement issued on the 20th of June 2016, and credited to the Hon. Minister of Environment Amina J. Mohammed, stating that “What we have approved are for field trials.” We doubt that the National Biosafety management Agency (NBMA) has a different understanding of a permit for commercial release and placement in the environment from what the permit document itself states in plain language.BiosafetyGMOsNBMACottonMaize
We have read with interest Monsanto’s defence of NBMA in its response to Premium Time’s report highlighting NBMA’s surreptitious granting of permits to them to bring their GMOs and glyphosate into Nigeria. We restate here that Monsanto’s applications were approved without due diligence and that the law setting up NBMA is extremely flawed in that it gives individuals in the agency the latitude to toy with the health of Nigerians, our environment and food systems.GMOsBiosafetyNBMAMonsanto
Nigerian Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Defies FG, Nigerians, Permits Deployment of GMOs in Nigeria: Despite the promise of the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril that “Nigeria would not mortgage the safety of its citizens by introducing unproven products into the country” and the concerted efforts by over 5 million Nigerians (made up of 100 groups comprising farmers, faith-based organizations, civil society groups, students and local farmers) to prevent the introduction of genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize into Nigeria’s foods and farming system, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has issued two permits, one for the Commercial Release and Placing on Market of genetically modified cotton and the other for the confined field trial of maize, to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited.
The Nigerian Biosafety Law, in its present form, is a recipe for the destruction of Nigeria’s ecosystem, food cultures and systems. The process leading to its passage was devoid of critical input and public participation that would have enabled Nigerians to significantly determine and protect their food cultures and systems. It lacks legal safeguards for protecting their rights.