In the last two weeks, the scientific community in Nigeria has been agog with celebration of two main feats that showed genetically modified products have come to stay and that Nigerians are eager and ready to adopt it.It all started with the release of two varieties of Genetically Modified (GM) cotton varieties by the National Variety Release Committee (NVRC) on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Materials at its 26th Meeting in Ibadan.
The committee approved the official registration of two Bt. cotton varieties known as MRC7377 BG11 and MRC7361 BG11, making it the first genetically modified crop to be approved for planting in Nigeria.As the scientists took to the streets to celebrate their achievement, a Federal High court seating in Abuja struck out a case instituted by a group of civil societies, led by Health of Mother Earth Foundation, challenging the powers of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) to grant a permit to Monsanto Nigeria for confined field trial of GM maize and commercial release of GM cotton.
The judge struck out the case on the ground that the case as instituted was status barred, meaning the 30 days allowed by law for anyone to seek redress from an action has lapsed and that the plaintiff was unable to prove how the action of the NBMA affected their human rights.The judgement brought to a close the long orchestrated legal battle canvassed by the anti-GMO activists, who never believed in the ability of our scientists to turn around the challenges facing our farmers. Read more