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Monsanto infiltrates Nigeria's biotech industry, introduces GMO crops despite widespread condemnation from farmers, churches and activists


(NaturalNews) Soon, Nigerian farmers will no longer own their own seed or control the destiny of their own agriculture. Soon, they will have to get permission to use Monsanto's genetically modified seeds, year after year. Carcinogenic herbicide use will be required, because Monsanto's seeds are engineered specifically to resist their own blockbuster herbicide, glyphosate.

The infiltration of Monsanto into Nigeria has begun. The Nigeria regulatory body for biotechnology, The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), has approved two permits allowing Monsanto to takeover Nigeria's seed market without safety tests. GMO cotton and GMO maize, which are engineered to produce the infamous Bt toxin, will now be unleashed into Nigerian agriculture. The permits give the untested GMO seeds authorization for commercial release and market placement. The permits were issued on a holiday by NBMA director general, Rufus Ebegba.

Millions of Nigerians reject GM foods but will be force fed them anyway

NBMA director general, Rufus Ebegba spoke highly about the GM seeds and ridiculed skeptics of GM crops as "anti-science." It's almost as if he was taking a line right out of Monsanto's PR playbook.

"The controversy surrounding the food and feeds are quite germane. However, suffice it to say that [to] date there is no reliable evidence that GM crops pose any health risk whatsoever. Recent FAO, World Health Organization (WHO) and other credible authorities attest to this. The public should therefore trust the agency's decisions and avoid unscientific information and acts capable of causing public distrust and panic."

Ebegba ignored the concerns of the Minister of State for the Environment, Ibrahim Jibril. He completely ignored at least 100 organizations that are concerned about the dangers posed by unleashing genetically engineered products into the food supply.

"Nigeria would not mortgage the safety of its citizens by introducing unproven products into the country," said Environmental Minister Ibrahim Jibril, whose words now ring hollow as Monsanto's GM seeds go untested, straight into the marketplace. Jibril is backed by at least 100 organizations representing five million Nigerians who condemn the GMO takeover of the country's agriculture.

Farmers, faith based organizations, students, civil society groups and local community groups are all speaking out against Monsanto's brand of chemical agriculture, expressing concerns for human health and environmental risks of genetically modified crops. They are aware that glyphosate has been declared a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Concerns over Antibiotic Resistant Marker Gene and plants that produce GM toxins

Nnimmo Bassey, director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, said, "Those GMO promoters are concerned with ensuring the profit of biotech entrepreneurs rather than the health and environmental concerns of Nigerians."

Nigeria's Guardian has published the group's objection to Monsanto's recent permits: They object to Monsanto's genes cry2Ab2 and cry1Ac, which produce Bt toxins within the plant, while showing no history of safe use in nature. Nigerians are also concerned about the insertion of the Antibiotic Resistant Marker Gene (ARMG) because it has the potential to transfer antibiotic resistance to other living organisms. The European Food Safety Authority is widely skeptical of this gene already and that's why these GM plants are limited to field trials and not given permission to be placed on the market.

The corruption is evident

Pointing out the corruption, Bassey declared, "A case in point is that NABDA, a member of the Board of NBMA, is a co-sponsor with Monsanto of the application for the field trials of the GMO maize. We are also appalled that an agency saddled with defending Nigeria's biodiversity is actively promoting these risky technologies."

"Little wonder officials of NBMA, National Biotech Development Agency (NABDA) and their pro-GMO train have been fighting tooth and nail to fool Nigerians by claiming that GMOs are safe! They approved the poorly concocted applications and issued these permits on a Sunday when government offices do not open. In fact, 2nd May was also a public holiday."

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