Stakeholders in Abuja Wednesday kicked against the proposed amendment to National Bio-Safety Management Agency Act during a public hearing on the bill sponsored to that effect by the former Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP Kebbi North).
The public hearing, organised by the Senate Committee on Environment at the National Assembly, was not attended by the sponsor.
Abdullahi had in the bill sought strict regulation on foods that are genetically modified in preventing inherent health hazards.
He specifically sought for labelling of genetically modified foods in the country so consumers will know the 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 the National Bio-Technology Development Agency, NABDA, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha who said the proposed amendment was unnecessary.
NABDA and other relevant agencies have been carrying out the regulation being sought for in preventing the 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 embark on a wide range of research work and accessing international grants for its scientifically and technologically driven biotechnology development,” he said.
The President of All Farmers Association in Nigeria, AFAN, Arc. 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 a legal angle, the Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, Frank Tiete, said accepting the proposal will be tantamount to a violation of the treaty entered into by Nigeria through the existing Act with 172 other countries across the globe.
“No need for the amendment of the extant law since 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.
Similarly, all members of the committee, including the Vice Chairman, Senator Hassan Hadejia (APC Jigawa North East) who represented the chairman, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator Nnachi Michael (PDP Ebonyi South) etc, kicked against the bill.