Biosafety Agency partners Customs to checkmate unapproved GMOs
The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) says its Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the Nigerian Customs Service will checkmate unapproved Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to have their ways into the country.
Director General of the agency, Dr Rufus Ebegba made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that the step would strengthen the working relationship between the two agencies as a way of regulating the importation of GM foods and to ensure that only safe GM foods were allowed into the country.
“Due to the sensitive nature of GMO, it is imperative for both agencies to work together as our mandatory functions are to ensure total compliance with conditions of safe environment and health.’’
He reiterated the readiness of the agency to ensure total and holistic biosafety in the application of modern biotechnology in the country.
“We are working closely with line agencies, like the Nigeria Customs Service and other border agencies and will provide them with simple detection kits to be able to detect and analyse GMOs.
Ebegba said that the relationship between NBMA and NCS would ensure that all import approvals granted by the NBMA served as part of the documentations that the NCS would require at entry points.
“There is a need for us to develop a central working system, where all permits granted by NBMA can be accessed by the NCS.’
“And some of the products that customs should be particular about at the entry points include; Soya, Maize and Cotton.’’
The director general, however, said that there was the need for customs to carry out intensive enlightenment programme for its staff to equip officers on the knowledge of the mandate of the NBMA.
NAN reports that NBMA and the NCS had in 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that itemised the duties and responsibilities of each agency in respect to effective regulation of GMOs and their products.