After the Tela Maize was approved in Nigeria at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) in Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna, there seemed to be some disagreement over it especially after it was rejected by Kenya and the United States.
According to a submission by the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, “the newly approved genetically modified TELA Maize variety by the Federal Government was rejected in Kenya and the United States. It is unfortunate that Nigeria has become a dumping ground for junk technologies that have been rejected in other countries.”
Bassey cautioned the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) on accepting a kind of technology in Nigeria while it is being rejected by other countries.
She went on to further state that, “a few people should not be dictating to us what we should grow or eat. Farmers should be able to decide for themselves. There are strong forces at the corridors of power that just want to destroy our food system, erode our biodiversity and hand over the agricultural system to the colonialists. It is a political agenda. To start with, that Nigeria’s population is 200 million is fictional, it is not true. Government needs to know the actual population of the country.”
Not just her, another Agricultural Technologist, Mrs. Oyetoun Alonge also criticized the approval. She stated that the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) will come alongside its own sets of consequences.
“I am sure that the majority of people that know the problems and negative effects of these GMO products on us as humans and even on our nation will not be happy. The major consequence is that GMO produce will phase out all the indigenous seeds before we know it. It’s going to affect our local products – species of plants and animals.” Oyetoun said.
She added that, “We will have to go back to where the seeds originate every time and before you know it, farmers will start embracing the GMO products and our normal seeds will lose viability and when they lose viability, we may not be able to go back to it because they might not germinate again. And when we are no longer using it that means we have lost it forever.”