Nige­ri­ans must re­ject GMO pol­icy –Prof Nje­manze Pol­icy a for­eign in­va­sion Food not nat­u­ral but in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - From Johnkennedy Uzoma, Ow­erri

Amed­i­cal sci­en­tist based in Ow­erri, who is also chair­man of Global Pro­life Al­liance, Prof Philip Nje­manze, has said that the Ge­net­i­cally Mod­i­fied Or­gan­ism (GMO) food pol­icy in Nige­ria is like a for­eign in­va­sion.

He is al­leg­ing that some rich for­eign­ers and com­pany own­ers were be­hind the pol­icy in the coun­try.

Nje­manze, who is the pro­pri­etor of Chidi­con Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Ow­erri, also ob­served that some peo­ple were de­ter­mined to mort­gage the food se­cu­rity of the coun­try by hand­ing it to a few who would de­ter­mine when a Nige­rian would eat or re­main hun­gry.

He said far-reach­ing step had to be taken by both the gov­ern­ment and all other stake­hold­ers to stop the trend or Nige­ri­ans would run the risk of de­pend­ing on for­eign­ers to get food to eat.

De­scrib­ing the GMO tech­nol­ogy as an in­ter­ven­tion into a mod­i­fied gene of a crop in or­der to yield some char­ac­ter­is­tics, he said the prac­tice was the great­est atroc­ity in the coun­try.

Prof Nje­manze said what the peo­ple did in their fraud­u­lent re­search was to change the char­ac­ter­is­tics by switch­ing off the genes that al­lowed one to repli­cate the plant, adding that once they did that, it be­came an in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and make the crop an un­nat­u­ral thing.

Jus­ti­fy­ing his po­si­tion us­ing to­mato as an ex­am­ple, he said it was achieved when the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a to­mato which had tuta ab­so­luta in­va­sion was taken and then made re­sis­tant to the dis­ease.

Ac­cord­ing to him, by so do­ing, the owner would want to con­trol ev­ery­body that wanted to plant that vari­ant of the GMO to­mato seeds thereby mak­ing huge amount of money out of the peo­ple, or­ga­ni­za­tion or gov­ern­ment agency.

He said based on his find­ings, the firms that carry out such re­search world­wide in­cluded Mon­santo, an Amer­i­can multi­na­tional agro­chem­i­cal and agri­cul­tural biotech­nol­ogy com­pany, among oth­ers.

He said what was hap­pen­ing in the coun­try now in the mod­i­fied gene food pol­icy thrust would never be al­lowed in many coun­tries and called on the so­ci­ety to re­sist it.

He said: “A sit­u­a­tion where the en­tire con­glom­er­ate has taken our nat­u­ral crops such as yam, cas­sava, rice, banana, mil­let among oth­ers and made them to be­come GMO food is un­for­tu­nate,” adding that the sit­u­a­tion would make the over 180 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans to de­pend on the western in­vestors, who would solely have the power to re­lease food for Nige­ri­ans to eat and deny them same when it suited them.

Prof Nje­manze, who al­leged that the re­search was spon­sored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion and the prod­uct pushed into the coun­try by Mon­santo, ap­pealed to Nige­ri­ans not to al­low the con­tro­ver­sial ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered food prod­ucts ar­range­ment take root in the coun­try.

He said what Nige­ri­ans need is to use biotech­nol­ogy to de­velop indige­nous tech­nol­ogy towards crop and an­i­mal dis­ease pre­ven­tion among oth­ers but not switch­ing off the gene.

The med­i­cal sci­en­tist called on Nige­ri­ans, no mat­ter their sta­tus in so­ci­ety, not to sup­port the GMO pol­icy.

Prof Philip Nje­manze

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