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Suspend introduction of genetically modified crops, Reps urge FG

The Federal Government has been called upon to suspend the introduction of genetically modified crops into the country pending the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation.

 

Genetically modified crops are plants whose DNA has been altered using genetic engineering methods and used for agricultural purposes.

The resolution of the House of Representatives on Thursday, followed the adoption of a motion on the floor of the House on Thursday, moved by the lawmaker representing the Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency, Kwara State, Muktar Shagaya.

Leading the debate on the ‘Need to investigate the introduction of genetically modified crops in Nigeria,’ Shagaya said the recent introduction of GM crops in Nigeria has raised serious questions about the “safety, regulatory oversight, and the potential impact on the country’s biosafety and ecosystem.”

He also noted that GM foods can be created to contain almost anything, “including genes which have higher levels of toxicity and negative long-term effects on human health.”

The lawmaker further argued that the introduction of GM crops has led to public outcries, with serious concerns expressed about the potential risks they may pose to human health, environmental degradation and food security.

Shagaya submitted, “The House is aware that the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has been accused of approving the introduction of GM crops into Nigeria without following due process and scientific protocols.

“These GM crops are being introduced into Nigeria at a time when the said crops have been banned in several countries like France, Russia, Germany, China, India, and a host of other countries in Europe due to safety concerns.

“Also concerned that GMO crops’ long-term impacts on human health remain uncertain; prompting precautionary measures due to potential health risks including cancer, antibiotic resistance, allergic reactions and reproductive issues.”

Shagaya cautioned that the introduction of GM crops “could have far-reaching implications” on the nation’s “food security, potentially transferring control to foreign biotechnology companies which are primarily driven by profit and cost reduction.”

Following the adoption of the motion, the House urged the FG to “suspend the introduction of new genetically modified crops until an investigation by the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services is completed and the findings are made public.”

It also urged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to “cause the already introduced GM foods and crops in Nigeria to be properly labelled to safeguard consumers.”

Another resolution of the House was the directive on the Agricultural Production and Services to “conduct a comprehensive investigation into the introduction of GM crops into Nigeria by the National Biosafety Management Agency and assess the potential health and environmental risks associated with genetically modified crops and report back within four weeks.”

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