•Infant mortality to rise if mothers eat GMO cowpeas
•Foods shrink men’s testis, cause infertility
Experts have warned that one out of every three Nigerian child born to a mother who was fed on Genetically Modified Organisims (GMO) foods such as the Bt Cowpeas and Beans, would develop severe intrauterine growth retardation in babies and therefore called for outright ban on GM foods Nigeria. Also, it’s estimated that 75 per cent of Nigerians will die of one form of cancers or the other by 2030, if they continue to consume GMO Cowpeas, others. CHIJIOKE IREMEKA reports
t the Conference organised by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in collaboration with the Barns Connect in Abuja recently to discuss genetically modified organisms (GMO) foods, Academician (Prof.) Philip Njemanze released certain alarming reports against GMO.
At the event which attracted men and women from all walks of lives to the event centre, the Director General of FCCPC) welcomed the various stakeholders t the event including Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, NGOs, Farmers Associations, Seed Council, Civil Society groups, marketers, citizens, the press and others.
This set the stage for the first Guest Speaker’s insightful lecture, Prof. Njemanze, who is also the Chairman of the International Institutes of Advanced Research and Training, Chidicon Medical Center, Owerri, Imo State, and Chairman of the Global Prolife Alliance, a leading international neuroscientist
Njemanze, who is also a former Principal Investigator at the United States National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Neurolab project to study the Brain in Space, academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), presented the scientific evidence from published peer-review literature on the health hazards of GMO foods.
In his alarming evidences, the recent commercially released Monsanto Bt Cowpeas, popularly known in Nigeria as Beans by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) allegedly causes cancer in human.
He noted in his discovery that the genetically modified Bt Cowpeas incorporates a protein Cry1Ab, which is a pesticide against pod borer (Maruca).
Wondering the operability of these GMOs, he said: “Just like instead of your home insecticide being sprayed directly against mosquitoes, you are told to drink it; so that anytime you are beaten by mosquitoes they will suck your blood with the insecticide in it, which will eventually kill them.”
More so, scientific evidence shows that the insecticide, and in this case, pesticide (Bt toxin) actually will kill the person the same way it kills the pest.
The graphic presentation by Prof. Njemanze showed the scientific evidence in slides of diseases caused by GMO foods and the main pesticide used for it popularly caused Monsanto Roundup.
Prof. Njemanze first dispelled the alleged lies of the biotechnology industry that using the GMO crops would reduce use of pesticides by farmers, saying on the contrary; data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that the use of GMO crops actually led to high rates of use of pesticides, because of the development of pesticide resistant weeds.
According to him, the Monsanto Roundup pesticide is freely sold in Nigeria as a weed killer. The problem is that the Roundup, also called Glyphosate, is a well-established cause of cancer according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Prof. Njemanze further demonstrated that the use of Roundup alone and in combination with GMO maize with similar Bt-toxin as in Bt Cowpeas released in Nigeria led to breast cancer and other cancers in the liver and kidney, according to work by French scientists published in the international journal Environmental Science Europe, 2014, volume 26:14.
He noted that the breast cancer resulting from the Bt-toxin in GMO crops just like Bt-Cowpeas in animals is similar to that expected in Nigerian women who would eat the GMO beans.
According to a scientific publication by Australian scientists in the journal Environment International (2014) volume 73, pages 423-433, the Bt-toxins when inserted in potatoes and fed to rats also damaged their intestine.
The scientists noted that the damaged intestine that would lead to more frequent cancers of the intestine and colon, saying similar lesions are expected with use of Bt-toxin in Cowpeas released in Nigeria for the first time in the world.
Experts warned that Nigerian people would be the world’s experimental guinea pigs, in what until now, has been tried out in rats and mice in other countries.
During the lecture, one could feel the anxiety over Nigerian women at the event and real agitation for a probe into the work of the NBMA and other related agencies of the Federal Government charged with the oversight functions.
“The entire population of Nigeria is subjected to a population-wide experiment because of an incompetent and inept Biosafety agency acting in the interest of biotechnology companies against National Health Safety,”
A further uproar particularly among Nigerian men was ignited when the next slides showed works by scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences demonstrating how GMO foods shrink the testis and cause infertility in men.
It is expected that, should Nigerians consume Bt Cowpeas or beans released with other GMO foods, over half of Nigerian men could become infertile.
Njemanze added that, since cowpeas or beans is exported from Nigeria to other African countries and to Europe this could easily become a worldwide problem if allowed to go on.
He continued: “This would mean that Cowpeas or beans could never be exported from Nigeria since even a 1% contamination of natural Cowpeas with GMO Cowpeas would earn a total ban of import of the agricultural product from Nigeria into the European Union, Russia, China, USA and other countries.
“By this singular approval of Bt Cowpeas, the NBMA has terminated all prospects of Nigerian agriculture being a major export market earner of hard currency.
“For the Federal Government to save Nigerian agriculture from this impending doom must urgently reorganise the NBMA and reverse the permits granted for Bt Cowpeas and other GMO foods.”
The work by American scientists published in the journal Interdiscip. Toxicol. 2013, volume 6(4): 159-186, showed that the Roundup pesticide used for GM crops were largely responsible for the growing incidence of Celiac Disease associated with intestinal indigestion, loss of blood (anemia), thyroid cancer, low sperm count and kidney disease.
In Nigeria cowpeas or beans is frequently consumed as a major source of protein especially in children. The Child-School feeding programme sponsored by the Federal Government frequently has on the menu beans or cowpeas.
The question begging for answers in the minds of people present is, what would happen should the so-called GMO Bt Cowpeas be used in School feeding?
Njemanze explained that, there are studies on what GMO foods cause in young rodents if their mothers were fed on GMO foods.
A peep into journal Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9, Scientists at the Russian Academy of Sciences, demonstrated severe growth retardation in rats fed on GMO foods as published in the journal Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4–9.
It would be expected that, one out of every three Nigerian child born to a mother who was fed on GMO food would develop severe intrauterine growth retardation as seen below in babies of the same age.
Sundy Telegraph learnt that if the child continues on GMO foods in school, there could be severe mental deficits including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorders (ADHD), epilepsy and allergies.
It was learnt that the infant and child mortality in Nigeria will rise drastically if GMO foods such as Bt Cowpeas or beans are eaten by mothers regularly.
Slides of works by Brazilian scientists demonstrated how the Cry1Ab protein in Bt Cowpeas causes blood disorders that could lead to cancer of the blood, published in Journal of Hematologic Thrombotic Disorders 2013, 1:1.
On the issue of fortifying staple foods in Nigeria like Yellow Cassava or Yellow Yam with Vitamins and protein, Njemanze provided scientifically published works by some American scientists at the Danforth Institute in St Louis USA, originally published in a journal PLOS One 2012 volume 7 (9):10.
In this work, they claimed that there could be protein inserted into cassava, under funding by the American Billionaire Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
But when scientists elsewhere subjected the work to scrutiny, it was revealed that this was a clear scientific forgery and the work was retracted from literature as falsehood and the authors apologised publicly for the deception, and the work is tagged ‘Retracted.’
Sunday Telegraph learnt that in spite of the foregoing, this did not deter the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation from selling the idea that biofortification would benefit the nutrition in African countries including Nigeria.
Dr. Billy Chukwurah said the Golden Rice was developed by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and sold as containing vitamin A to prevent blindness in the poor African Child.
An evaluation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) showed that the Golden Rice contained vitamin A (provitamin A carotenoids) only in a very tiny amount of 1.26 mg/kg compared to the very high concentration in fresh carrot (13.8-49.3g) and spinach (111 mg/g).
Sunday Telegraph observes that to get the daily dose of vitamin A needed for a child, that child must eat one bag of 3.75 kg Gold Rice every day. The USA FDA concluded that Golden Rice for practical purposes does not contain any Vitamin A and should be labeled as such.
It was gathered that although calorie dense, the starchy, tuberous roots of cassava provide the lowest sources of dietary protein within the major staple food crops (Manihot esculenta Crantz).
Chukwurah noted that the Cassava was genetically modified to express zeolin, a nutritionally balanced storage protein under control of the patatin promoter, saying that transgenic plants accumulated zeolin within de novo protein bodies localised within the root storage tissues, resulting in total protein levels of 12.5% dry weight within this tissue, a fourfold increase compared to nontransgenic controls.
He noted that no significant differences were seen for morphological or agronomic characteristics of transgenic and wild type plants in the greenhouse and field trials, but relative to controls, levels of cyanogenic compounds were reduced by up to 55% in both leaf and root tissues of transgenic plants.
According to the Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, many people apt to believe that any fruit that is bigger than the usual ones are GMOs, saying that the problems with GMOs are many.
He said, “They do not support mixed cropping but support monocultures and they are not good for our agriculture, as the system requires that farmers must buy seeds and not save and reuse or share them. Some of the crops are engineered to produce infertile seeds. They contaminate other natural varieties of crops and animals/fish.
“They reduce the varieties of particular crops available and this creates more problems as unexpected diseases can wipe out vast quantities of crops. They require the use of large quantities of toxic chemicals some of which are manufactured by the companies that genetically modify the seeds.
“Those engineered to kill particular pests also kill other organisms that were not a threat to the crops. They sometimes look like normal crops and can pass undetected making it difficult to control or withdraw it once released into the environment. There is no scientific certainty about the safety of these crops.
“There has been a very serious desire by companies that make GMOs to open up the Nigerian environment for their control and business. Working with their local and international agents they are making effort to have a weak law in place that would allow introduction of GMOs without any provision for holding them liable if there are accidents or contaminations.
“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 you 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. Will you accept to be used for experiments?”
However, in an online interview with the sponsor, Bill Gates said: “What are called GMOs are done by changing the genes of the plant, and it’s done in a way where there’s a very thorough safety procedure, and it’s pretty incredible because it reduces the amount of pesticide you need, raises productivity (and) can help with malnutrition by getting vitamin fortification.
“And so I think, for Africa, this is going to make a huge difference, particularly as they face climate change… The U.S., China, Brazil, are using these things and if you want farmers in Africa to improve nutrition and be competitive on the world market, you know, as long as the right safety things are done, that’s really beneficial.
“It’s kind of a second round of the green revolution. And so the Africans I think will choose to let their people have enough to eat.”
Also, the Secretary-General of the Epidemiological Society of Nigeria, Dr. Matthew Ashikeni, said that commercialising Bt cowpea will help the country tackle malnutrition, especially in children.
“Today one of the greatest problems we have is malnutrition. Go to the northeast and there’s an epidemic — in fact, there’s an emergency — and if we can combat malnutrition by products that have been developed and tested in the country by our own scientists, regulated by our own agency, then we should be proud.”
According to the NBMA Director-General, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, Bt cowpea is Nigeria’s first genetically modified food crop, prompting the NBMA to build on past efforts to ensure that stakeholders are aware of the basic science behind the crop and biosafety measures imposed by the agency.
The cowpea project’s principal scientific investigator, Prof. Mohammad Ishiyaku, said the pest can cause farmers to lose up to 80 percent of their yield, saying that Bt cowpea showed it could drastically reduce the use of pesticides and increase yields by up to 20 percent, which translates to N48 billion annually at the rate of N120,000 per tonne.
“Genetically engineered crops are not engineered to help anybody; rather they are engineered to help the industry that produces the crops,” Nnimmo Bassey added.
“In conclusion, the Bt Cowpeas commercially released in Nigeria poses a grave health risk and is a major National Security Concern. The recommendation to the Federal Government is for a Total Ban of GMO Crops in Nigeria. The FCCPC was advised to institute class action suits against Monsanto for injury to poor Nigerian farmers who have been using Roundup, similar to class action suits in the USA,” Prof. Njemanze warned.
More so, Njemanze brought another twist to the issue of GMO foods and the reason farmers are being killed in the northern parts of the country and the burning of farmlands in the Benue State, saying that what is happening in Nigeria is not islamisation of the country.
In the follow-up Q&A, Njemanze provided some statistics tendered by the Council on Foreign Relations at the United States Congress, showing that between 2015 and 2018 over 37,500 people were killed or fatally injured by Boko Haram terrorists in mostly farming communities in the Northeast Food Basket of Nigeria.
He said: “Of these, 32,000 or 85% were Muslims and 5,500 or 15% were Christians. This dispelled the idea of any Islamic terrorism by the International News pundits. In some predominantly Muslim States, 40% of victims were Fulani and 60% were Hausa. Also, counter to the so-called Fulanisation phenomenon alleged by some unpatriotic Nigerian politicians.
“However, what is common among the Muslim and Christian victims of Boko Haram was that they were all farmers who were seed-growers in their communities. This raises the question, is the Boko Haram terrorism targeted at Natural Seed Growers in the Northeast food basket of Nigeria and across the Country?
“Could Boko Haram have used the 14 million Cell Phone Electronic Wallets given to farmers under the guise of agricultural loan scheme by Federal Ministry of Agriculture under Dr Akinwumi Adesina donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?
“The cell phones could track the farmers identity and movement, using GPS? To answer this question, a study of the Map of Boko Haram attacks since 2009 showed that it was in the Cowpeas or beans production areas.
“In other words, the farmers particularly seed growers in the Northeast areas where natural Cowpeas or beans are planted had to be tracked and killed by the Boko Haram terrorists, so that, the NBMA would approve the distribution Bt toxin Cowpeas from Monsanto (which they claim was from MAHYCO Nigeria, which is a subsidiary of MAHYCO India and Monsanto USA).
“The claim by some Nigerian scientists that they had a key role in the development of the over two decades known Cry1Ab gene inserted in Cowpeas is just a cover-up piracy story. The goal of Boko Haram terrorists is to wipe out the entire natural cowpeas and replace it with GMO Monsanto Bt Cowpeas approved by NBMA.
“The step by step replacement of the major food staples with Bt toxin containing GMO foods or so-called biofortified GMO crops would deliver the Food Security of Nigeria into the hands of Bayer/Monsanto. The crops not covered are being sold as drought or flood-tolerant such as rice and maize. Floods are geo-engineered not as a result of any Climate-change.”