Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) has refuted claims that genetically modified (GM) crops pose a national security threat and emphasized their benefits for Nigerians. Responding to a complaint from the Global Profile Alliance titled “National Security Threat: Biotech Terrorism using GMO Seeds,” NABDA dismissed the allegations as false, misleading, and unfounded.
The letter was signed by NABDA’s DG/CEO, Prof Abdullahi Mustapha, and Prof. Sylvia Uzochukwu, President of the Biotechnology Society of Nigeria. The agency urged the Senate not to heed what it termed “scientifically unfounded advice by the complainant” and emphasized that genetically modified (GM) crops have undergone rigorous testing and regulation before commercial release to ensure safety for human health and the environment.
NABDA also highlighted that GM crops have been consumed in Europe, America, South Africa, China, and other parts of Asia for more than 25 years without adverse effects. They pointed out that Kenya was misled into imposing a ban on GMOs in 2012 and was forced to lift the ban in 2022 after experiencing severe drought and crop failure.
The agency emphasized that there is international scientific consensus on GM crop safety, supported by regulatory agencies and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine globally, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
NABDA also underscored the benefits of genetically modified products developed by Nigerian scientists, such as transgenic cowpea and TELA maize, which are resistant to pests and drought. These crops have been shown to significantly boost yields for smallholder farmers.
NABDA urged the Senate to consider the overwhelming international scientific consensus on the safety and benefits of transgenic crops and to continue supporting policies that promote agricultural innovation.