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June 12th, 2018 / AllAfrica.com

Rufus Ebegba is the Director General of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA). His agency is responsible for regulating biotechnology and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Basically the agency rejects or approves GMOs and its activities in Nigeria.

There has been a protracted debate over the application of genetically modified crops into the food system of the country. These debate has birthed two groups, pro-GMO and anti-GMO. The former is for while the latter is against the application.

Mr Ebegba’s agency has been accused of bias on the burning issue. Chief among the criticisms leveled against the agency is that it does not ‘consider’ opinions of Nigerians before granting approval to GM products.

NBMA in 2016 issued two permits for GM cotton, and the confined field trial of maize, to Monsanto Agriculture Nigeria Limited. This move came despite concerted efforts of many Nigerians (comprising 100 groups of farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local farmers) to prevent the introduction.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Ebuka Onyeji, Mr Ebegba explains how the agency handles opinions of Nigerians on GMOs. He took questions on the various concerns raised about their operation. He further gave a breakdown on procedures involved in seeking or granting approvals for GM activities in the country as well as how the agency ensures the safety of GM products among other sundry issues. Read more