Genetically modified Organism (GMO) are organisms whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMO are used to produce many medication and genetically modified foods. They are widely used in scientific research and the production of many other goods.
However, organisms that can be genetically modified include food, plant and animals. The most commonly modified foods include corn, soy, yellow crookneck squash, Alfalfa, canola, sugar beets and milk. Among animals include featherless chicken, less flatulent cows, glittering gold seahorses, fast growing salmon(fish), sudden death mosquitoes, enviropig, web spinning goat, most male tilapia, glow-in-the-dark rabbit, and glow-in-the-dark-cat. Among plants or crop include majorly rice, soya beans, maize, cotton, maize, Potatoes, sugar beet and wheat.
Genetically Modified Organisms generally with the infusion of a modified gene makes both Plant and Animals grow rapidly within a very short Space of time, In Plant it makes the Plant grow quick increasing the yield and size of crop thereby bringing more profit and faster growing rate, decrease global warming, decrease food Prices, less deforestation, more income and less use of pesticide in animals. They can be used for clinical trial research, organs donor in the future, used by diabetic patients who needs insulin. They as well can be used to keep infants healthy and also the use of livestock production.
On the other hand, there exists many disadvantages to GMO. In Animals the use of GMO is unethical, unsafe for human consumption; they are victims as the animals can be harmed in the process. They also add to the expense of the government. Also in plants, the disadvantages are quite enormous. They include allergic reactions, not 100% environmental friendly, decrease anti-biotic efficacy, unusual taste, not totally safe to eat and brings about the emergence of new disease.
With the dicey situation of GMO, Nigeria is not also left out as some Nigerians think the use of GMO should be applauded, while others are of the opinion that they should not be allowed to exist in the country.
According to an international environmentalist and Agriculturist, Dr. Vandana Shiva who has raised the alarm over proposed introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into Nigeria and other African countries, with the signing of the Bio-safety law, describing it as suicidal.
She warned that the introduction of the crop into Nigeria is another means the GMO originator ‘Mosanto’ and other food corporations from the West want to use to make huge profits out of Africa and enslave farmers at the expense of their well-being. Shiva who disclosed this at a press briefing organised by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) in Abuja said “Monsanto and other food corporations from the West are out in Africa to make huge profits and enslave African farmers at the expense of their well-being.”
She maintained that GMOs are not the best science and technology for food production and survival of Africans, rather the approach is deadly to the soil and human existence.
Nigerians are known to be very smart and some of them have keyed into the introduction of GMO rice, one of the commonly consumed food in Nigeria. There was recent alarm that GMO rice was recently imported into Nigeria. The Federal Government though denied it.
According to the Director-General of the National Biosafety Management Agency, Rufus Ebegba, he said that an online news platform had alleged that the Federal Government through a firm had flooded the nation’s market with poisonous GM rice.
The NBMA boss said that there was no iota of truth in the report. He noted that no GM rice had either been imported or released officially into the country.
According to him, no such rice has been commercially released anywhere in the world.
He said that the Federal Government had banned the importation of rice and there was no indication that the ban had been lifted.
He added that the report was intended to cause unnecessary panic and called on Nigerians to disregard it.
The director-general also urged them to join hands with the government to ensure safety in the practice of modern biotechnology in the country in line with global best practices.
He said NBMA was capable of regulating all GMO products in Nigeria and promised that the agency would not compromise on its mandate.
With the fore-going, should GMO be sustained in Nigeria or not?