Reps Probe Importation Of Genetically Modified Maize

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By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja  

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Agricultural Production and Services, and Customs and Excise to investigate circumstances that has led to the importation of the genetically modified maize without clearance from the National Biosafety Management Agency and recommend appropriate measures to protect the nation from importation of such products in future.

This is as it urged the federal government to stop further distribution of the products to food chain.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the need to investigate the alleged importation of Genetically Modified Maize into Nigeria moved by Hon. Kingsley Obinna Onwubuariri and Hon. Munir Babba Dan Agundi.

Debating the motion, Hon. Onwubuariri noted that the agricultural revolution of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is geared towards ensuring sufficiency in food production adding that Nigerians have heeded the call and have gone back to the farms, the result of which was an impressive harvest in maize which forced the price down.

He however decried recent reports alleging the importation of GMO maize into the country by a company named Olam Group noting that many developed countries have stopped the consumption of GMOs.

“Aware of recent reports in the Sun and Nigeria Today Newspapers of 8 September, 2017, which called on the Federal Government to probe the Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies at the Seaport over an alleged importation of seven ship-loads of maize by Olam Group.

“Also aware that following recent information by scientists and researchers, more than half of the countries of the European Union, including Germany, France, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Greece, Poland and Belgium have either completely banned or placed severe restrictions on consumption of genetically modified products in their respective countries;

The lawmaker who informed that Olam Group imported the maize partly to feed its newly built feed mill factory in Kaduna rather than patronizing local farmers, bemoaned the dangers of the shipment of GMO maize into the country to the health of Nigerians without knowledge of NBMA.

“Cognizant of the grave danger to the health of the citizens given the shipment of 70,000 tons of GMO maize into the country without the knowledge and clearance of the National Biosafety Management Agency, a development that could stifle the efforts of local farmers and aggravate the nation’s capital flight situation;

“Concerned that since the question of the safety and long-term effects of genetically modified products has not been resolved in Nigeria, the importation of genetically modified maize could expose our citizens to future health hazards, the magnitude of which nobody is in a position today to foretell or disprove with certainty.