The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has called on Nigerian scientists to advise the Federal Government on the acceptability or otherwise of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Ogbeh who made the call when he paid a working visit to the Agricultural and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria on Saturday said that opinion from indigenous scientists on the matter would help in forming government’s decisions on the acceptability or otherwise of the organisms.
“Genetic modification has been greeted with scepticism in Europe. It has been seen with suspicion in Africa. Within the reality of science and the anxiety of sentiments, you the academics must tell us which one is safe or not. I am not a scientist, I am just a farmer. Is GMO safe, should we suspect it, should we embrace it, should we engage it, is there a ploy by those who engineer it to take over the seed business worldwide.
“Does it threaten our future stability? What do we lay men do with GMOs, should we allow genetically modified grains into this country either for use or planting materials, please help us out,” he told scientists.
The Director of the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Prof. Ibrahim Abubakar disclosed that the institute had released 17 varieties of improved cowpea, 13 varieties of cotton, 26 varieties of groundnut and 54 varieties of maize among others, while appealing to FG for increased support to enable the Institute achieve its research targets in 2018.