Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, says Nigeria has what it takes to be safe and prosper in terms of biosafety.
Ikeazor said this at a one-day Stakeholders Conference on the State of Biosafety in Nigeria, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister was represented by Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).
The event was organised by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an NGO, to examine food system, biosafety and emerging technologies with a view to defining systems that worked.
Ikeazor expressed disappointment at the notion by some Nigerians that government was always making bad policies, saying no government would want to do anything against the interest of its citizens.
“We have enough scientific knowledge and evidence to decide whether this is bio-safe or it is not before they are released.
“If Genetically Modified Products are going to come out, I can tell you it is only the ones that are safe, no product will just go to your backyard and come out.
“It takes 13 years to come out with any product that is safe; any product we have approved for free trial, food or feed, we have confirmed them safe.
“The safety of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), that will ever be released in this country cannot be in doubt and to consume them will make us healthy after we have confirmed them.
“The Federal Government has what it takes for Nigeria to be safe and prosper, Nigerians must trust its government,” she said.
Speaking at the event, the Director of HOMEF, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, urged government to review its national biosafety policy to avoid gene editing, and achieve targets.
Meanwhile, Joyce Ebebeinwe, Programme Officer of HOMEF stressed the need for policy review to tackle challenges surrounding food security.
“With the increasing threats to biodiversity and a pandemic like COVID-19 ravaging the world, we are faced with challenges.
“We are also faced with an opportunity to redefine structures and chart the path for a healthy, resilient and sustainable food system,” Ebebeinwe said.
Our correspondent reports that a panel discussion on Biosafety, Biosecurity and Ethics and assessing existing legislation and regulations on Biosafety, was also held as part of the event.