RE: National Security Threat: Biotech Terrorism Using GMO seeds.
We write to respond to a publication by “Global Pro-life Aliance” to the office of the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria over concerns raised about Genetic Modified Organism Seeds, We find the publication to be lacking in empirical scientific proof thus the claims are tantamount to activities of rubble rousers, conspiracy theorists and underdevelopment merchants who take advantage of food shortages to induce inflation and hike in prices of food, it is suspicious that some persons/organisations feel threatened by the approval of GMOs by the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) on selected genetic modified organisms seeds after undergoing scientific testing and certified safe both for planting and consumption, this has countered the arguments raised about safety concerns of GMOs therefore Anti-GMO groups have found a low hanging fruit by pushing a rhetoric that links GMO seeds trials to insecurity in Nigeria. Since the approval by NABDA there has been great apprehension in the camps of food price speculators whose stock in trade is milking Nigerians from their limited resources through over priced food supplies at the expense of poor Nigerians, this act amounts to economic sabotage and unpatriotic behaviour.
Sir, over the years there has been a mass spread of falsehood especially as it concerns issues of sterilization in Nigeria, it is a popular narrative especially in Northern Nigeria that vaccinations for diseases like polio is a wide sterilization process which has been designed to ensure widespread infertility among the people of the region. This erroneous propaganda has cost the Nigerian Government, local and international NGOs billions of investment in the fight against polio and despite this huge financial commitment isolated cases have been recorded as recent as last year (2023) therefore another cheap lie with an expensive consequence should not be allowed to thrive.
Insecurity in Nigeria is multi dimensional and the causes can be attributed to many things including poverty, religious intolerance, ethnic cleansing, secessionist agitations and even global warming and climate change, these primordial causes of insecurity can be traced to be the triggers to breach of peace. The conspiracy theory that Genetic modified Organisms seeds is a causal factor of insecurity is a mere conjecture that should not be allowed to thrive because the gains of adopting GMOs outweighs the challenges. Food insecurity is a problem that needs to be addressed at a fast pace and the GMOs initiative is the panacea to food insecurity in Nigeria by way of improved and higher output (yields) despite using lesser input, labor and time. It is worthy of mention that the adaptability of genetic modified plants to the soil has showed very positive results so far.
We recommend adequate funding for the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) to improve capacity and invest in research and development that will lead to local development of GMO seeds, this will abolish over reliance on foreign biotechnology companies for input production while attracting investments for Nigeria in terms of partnerships, this increases Nigeria’s potential to supply GMO to other African countries that have keyed into the GMO to tackle food insecurity and poverty. We wish to state our support for the National Biotechnology Development Agency to continue the great exploits it has achieved so far and to seek the support of the senate to enable the agency continually put Nigeria on the global map.
Amb Takalis Dandaura
Coalition of Civil Society and Human Rights Organization