Seventeen Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have dragged the federal government before an Abuja Federal High Court, over permits issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for GMO Cotton and GMO Maize in Nigeria. Th e groups in a document asked for the revocation of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) confi ned fi eld trial of NK603 and MON89034X NK 603 Maize in Nigeria.
According to the groups, the permits given to Monsanto were issued on May 1 st , 2016, to Public Holiday being Sunday and Workers Day were “illegal, null and void.” Th ey also contended that NBDA violated the fundamental human rights of the general public. Th ey are therefore asking the court for a perpetual injunction to restrain both Monsanto and NBDA from carrying out any activity or further activity pursuant to those permits. Th ose joined in the suit with number FHC / ABJ / CS / 846/201 are: NBMA, the Minister of Environment, MOSANTO, NABDA, Minister of Agriculture, the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Agency for Foods Drugs and Administration NAFDAC) Th e group states that Monsanto and NABDA constitute threat to the fundamental human rights of the general public and a breach of the 1999 constitution as amended in 2011.
In the Originating Summons deposed to by HOMEF Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, the groups are asking the court to determine: “Whether with regard to section 15 of the interpretation Act 2004, the grant of approval by the agency on a Sunday is a valid Act. “Having regard to sections 2 and 3 (B) of Biosafety Act, 2015 as well as Article 1 of Cartagena protocol, principle 15 of the RIO declaration on environment and development codifying the customary international law on precautionary principle, whether the grant of the permits has satisfi ed the letters and spirit of the biosafety Act 2015 “Given the nature of the subject matter and the provisions of the enabling laws, the agency has exercised its discretion to grant the approval legally and fairly.
“Whether the whole process of granting the permits is not in breach of and threatening the fundamental human rights of the plaintiff s as well as the general public as per sections 14 (1) and (2), 20, 33, 34, 36 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended 2011. “Whether the membership of the 2 nd and 4 th defendants on the board of 1 st defendants does not violate the provisions of section 32 of the biosafety Act and the rules of naturaljustice, permits invalid. “Whether the decision taken by the 1 st defendant is consistent With section 28 (A), (C) of the national biosafety Management Act 2015.”
Based on the foregoing, the groups ask the court for: “A declaration that the 1 st defendant did not comply with the provisions of the National Biosafety Management Act in granting the permits to the 3 rd and 4 th defendants for the purpose of commercial release of BT cotton (MON 15985) and confi ned fi eld trial with (1) NK603 and (2) MON89034 X NK603 maize in Nigeria “A declaration
Th at the issuance of the Permits Said on the 1 st of May 2016 Which happens to be a public holiday being Sunday and Worker’s day is illegal, null and void. “A declaration that the procedure and issuance of the permit to the 3 rd for the purpose of commercial release of BT cotton (MON 15985) and to the 3 rd and 4 th defendants for confi ned fi eld trial with (1) NK603 and (2) MON89034 X NK603 maize in Nigeria constitutes a breach of the fundamental human rights of the general public as enshrined in section 33, 34 36 and 39 of the 1999 constitution of Nigerian as amended 2011 “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3 rd defendant and 4 th defendant by themselves, their agents, servants, workmen or otherwise whatsoever from carrying out any activity or further activities pursuant to the permits granted by the 1 st defendant “An order revoking the permits granted by the 1 st defendant to the 3 rd and 4 th defendant / respondents.”