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Ogbeh tasks research institutes on GMOs

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Ogbeh tasks research institutes on GMOs

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has urged agricultural research institutes in the country to conduct researches into Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to ascertain whether they are harmful or not for human consumption. Ogbeh made the call while on a visit to the Agriculture and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He said the debate on the safety of GMOs had been on, hence the need for clarifications. “Genetic Modification has been greeted with skepticism in Europe; it’s been seen with suspicion and trepidation here in Africa, between the reality of science and the anxiety of sentiments, you the academics must tell us which one is safe and which is not safe,” he stated.

The minister said while the citizens needed more information on GMOs, he could not speak on them because he was not a scientist. “I receive queries and petitions and I’m not a scientist, I’m just a farmer. I can’t answer the questions they ask like is GMO safe? Should we suspect it? Should we engage in it? I will like when you have your conference to please discuss this matter.

What do we laymen do with GMO? Should we allow genetically modified grains into the country either for use or as planting materials? Please help us out,” Ogbeh said. He said such researches could help set the records straight regarding GMOs. Indeed, it’s no longer news that the Nigerian market has been identified as a hub for the consumption of the GMO crops that are believed to be funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

This is in order to allow Nigerians to explore the benefits of GMOs in the country. Particularly, the debut of the GMO crops has gathered momentum as criticism trailed the sudden approval of the organic crops in the country. But technically, Nigeria could be said to have been a fertilize ground for GMO crops as foreign biotechnology companies have long wanted to gain access to the production of these GMOs staple food in Nigeria. The reason for this may not be unconnected with the fact that the proponents of the GMOs in the country have been luring researchers, scientists, farmers and academicians, government agencies for approvals of the crops to serve as human consumption.

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