Don’t embrace GMOs, environmentalist, Bassey, warns Nigeria

By Valentine Amanze

The Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, and other environmentalists have raised the alarm over the pressure from foreign companies to flood Nigerian market with products of agricultural biotechnology known as GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

They also appealed to the Federal Government, regulatory authorities and the lawmakers not to yield to the pressure to force Nigerians to consume food items that are injurious to their health.

Besides, they advised the government to quickly flush the GM items out of the country’s, while appealing to farmers to shun the crops.

Bassey, who spoke at a media training on “Promoting Nigeria’s Biosafety”, in Lagos, warned that once

GMOs were released into an environment the contamination would not be controlled, stressing that the only person that gains is the company that makes the crop or organism.

Bassey also pointed out that the foreigh companies that were promoting the GMOs in Nigeria were working with some Nigerians to make weak laws that would favour their businesses in the country.

“We believe that Nigeria does not need GMOs. And that what we need is to adequately support our farmers, who have been feeding us and keeping our environment healthy.

“We also need to make farming attractive to young people, provide rural infrastructure, and create food processing/preservation facilities.

“We need more agricultural extension officers and agriculture should not be used as a means of punishment in schools.

“Only wholesome, natural foods can ensure adequate nourishment for your children. GMOs have been fed to farm animals since 1996 and some food products for humans contain GMO products. If anyone tells you they are safe, ask them for the proof. There is no scientific evidence to show that GMOs are safe. The makers of GMOs and their agents want to turn Nigeria, Africa and the world into their laboratory for experiments,” he said.

He further said that although only few items on the market shelves that have GMOs were so labelled, it was important to check the labels – especially for products that contain soybeans and corn.

Bassey also disclosed that in many cases where there were no laws to regulate the introduction of such organisms what the companies did was to ensure the contamination of the environment and then the government would be forced to make weak laws to protect their activities and allow for more contamination and possible takeover of the agricultural sector.

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