THE Director General (DG) of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, on Tuesday said the agency was collaborating with stakeholders to ensure food security in the country.
Ebegba spoke during a capacity building workshop for the staff of Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) in Abuja.
“The meeting is to strengthen our relationship over the Memorandum of Understanding we signed over 18 months ago.
“We are particularly keen on this training to strengthen you and create awareness to serve as a voice, over safety of our country.
“The issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has been very contentious and you as a voice to the vanguard of consumers choice need to know what GMOs stand for,” the DG said.
He said the Federal Government has a policy that has positioned Genetical Engineering as one of the tools to drive the economy particularly in the agricultural sector.
Ebegba said that Genetical Engineering would also produce raw materials that would facilitate employment for food security.
“It is our duty as NBMA to ensure that these products are safe for consumption.
“You, FCCPC also need to know the efforts being made by the government so that these products are safe for human consumption and to our environment.
“You need to know and help dispel the fears associated with these products particularly when government confirms anyone safe,” he said.
Ebegba commended FCCPC for being “great partners” and urged the commission to ensure safety in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukere, said that the issue of biosafety could not be compromised assuring that it is of top priority.
Irukere who was represented by the Assistant Director, Quality Assurance and Development in FCCPC, Mr Jude Akonam said that the workshop would enhance participants’ jobs and responsibilities to the public.
Mr John Komen, a representative of the Programme for Biosafety System, commended NBMA for the workshop saying that the collaboration with FCCPC was crucial and critical to biosafety.
Komen said that Nigeria is a leader in biosafety regulations in the world.
The Director, Planning and Research NBMA, Mrs Scholastica Bello said that the agency had put in place several measures to ensure food safety in the country.
“NBMA sees FCCPC as a partner on the actualisation of engagement with the public on biosafety matters, especially on GMOs approval in Nigeria,” Bello said.
She assured that at the end of the meeting, wrong and misleading information on modern biotechnology and biosafety would be cleared. (NAN)