Posted in News

Nigeria ready for biotechnology

Nigeria ready for biotechnology
Posted on March 26, 2013

Mr Rufus Ebegba,Deputy Director Ministry of Environment

Nigeria ready for biotechnology
By Ugonma Cokey, LagosA Deputy Director in Nigeria’s Ministry of Environment, Mr Rufus Ebegba, says Nigeria is adequately prepared for biotechnology.

At a training organised for Media Fellows of Biosciences for Farming in Africa held in Lagos, Egbegba stated that Nigeria already had a policy and guidelines to ensure proper take off.

He said that apart from an office which had been created and boosted staff strength, 15 members of staff were being trained. He said that three members of Staff had already been trained up to the Masters level in biosafety.

According to him, regulations are also being developed, while waiting for the accent of the biosafety bill into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Addressing concerns of biosafety

The Director called on biotech critics’ to change their mind set in order to understand the advantages of technology.

“This technology is not a wholesale technology, as it would be highly regulated… The Ministry of Environment has built enough capacity to ensure that when the government signs the bill, we will be able to ensure that the products that will be released to the environment are not toxic to human health and are good for human consumption before they are released.”  Egbegba said.

He said that the capacity was being developed and the public was being enlightened on what government was doing to ensure the concerns of modern biotechnology are addressed.

Egbegba said that the Agency would ensure that products released into the environment would not affect human health and the environment.
“It is important for citizens to trust the government as government would do everything to ensure transparency,” he says.

GMO and Climate Change
The Deputy Director claimed that Genetically Modified products help mitigate the impact of Climate Change.

One of the ways to really ameliorate Climate Change is the adoption of plants that can thrive in critical areas like drought resistant plants. Through GMO we can develop plants that are drought resistant that can be planted in drought prone areas to reduce the impact of Climate Change. The basic essence is that some of the chemicals being released to deplete the Ozone layer would be drastically reduced.”

Technology generates jobs

Egbegba who stated that Biosafety was to ensure that modern biotechnology is deployed and used safely to ensure it doesn’t have adverse impact on human and the environment.

“Once it is in that form biotechnology itself can now be employed safely in the area of improvement of the health sector, increased agriculture efficiency and productivity, also the production of raw materials for industrial growth and  also sound and sustainable environment, because with the use of the technology the use of chemicals would be reduced on the environment and also to human health.”  He declared.

He said that the technology could generate jobs and create wealth if safely deployed.

On the importance of a biosafety bill, Egbeba said that without a biosafety law, Nigeria would likely become a dumping ground for GM consuming nations, without verification of the GMO type.

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Author:

A Journalist with passion for the environment.

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