NABDA, AFAN, others kick against amendment on Bio-Safety Act

Proposed amendment on National Bio – Safety Management Agency Act, was vehemently kicked against by all relevant stakeholders during public hearing on a bill sponsored by the former Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP Kebbi North).

The Public hearing which was organised by the Senate Committee on Environment held Wednesday at the National Assembly which was not attended by the sponsor of the amendment bill,Yahaya Abdullahi.

Abdullahi had in the bill sought ioooòi0iiifor strict regulation on foods that are genetically modified in preventing inherent health hazardstad.

He specifically sought for labelling of genetically modified foods in the country for consumers to know difference between them and natural ones and recommended sanctions against violation of the proposed law.

But almost all the stakeholders in the bio – safety sector rejected the proposed legislation in separate submissions made.

First to kick against it, was the Director General of National Bio – Technology Development Agency ( NABDA), Professor Abdullahi Mustapha who said the proposed amendment was unnecessary.

According to him, NABDA in particular and other relevant agencies have been carrying out the regulation being sought for in preventing consumption of toxic chemicals by Nigerians.

“There is no reason , there is no justification for the proposed legislation as NABDA has made significant achievements on Agriculture and Vaccines production towards checkmating consumption of toxic chemicals from modified foods and addressing the problem of insecurity.

“It is on this achievement that President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill now Act , making NABDA to embark on wide range of research work and accessing international grants for its scientifically and technologically driven bio – technology development”, he said.

The president of All Farmers Association in Nigeria (AFAN), Architect Kabiru Ibrahim also kicked against the bill by saying that Nigerian farmers are up to the task of providing food sufficiency in the country.

Pummeling the proposed legislation from legal angle, the Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, Barrister Frank Tiete, said accepting the proposal will be tantamount to violation of treaty entered into by Nigeria through the existing Act with 172 other countries across the globe.

“No need for amendment of the extant law since Nigeria it is also domesticated in 172 other countries in the world .

“The proposed legislation is a very bad one that must be thrown into the trash can”, he said.

Even members of the committee from the Vice Chairman, Senator Hassan Hadeijia (APC Jigawa North East) who acted as Chairman in absence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu who is standing trial in London to the ordinary members like Senator Nnachi Michael (PDP Ebonyi South) etc, kicked against the bill by saying that preponderance of views on the bill , will decide its fate.