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Ten Reasons Why Nigeria Must Not Adopt GMOs Foods – Response to Monsanto

by on July 10, 2016
 
We at the Global Prolife Alliance (GPA) as leading health, legal and
environmental experts along with other environmental stakeholders like the
Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and several
farmers associations representing over 14 million Nigerians were appalled
by the response of Monsanto. The response by Charla Lord, the Monsanto
spokesperson published in Premium Times June 11, 2016 is a clear
manifestation of the condescending, deceptive and racist attitude of
Monsanto towards African countries. Monsanto believes that Africans are not
abreast with the current scientific literature. So we will accept nonsense
out of ignorance.  Well this is not the case as they will see.

First, let us define genetically modified organisms, as organisms (plants,
animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been
altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural
recombination. The technology is often called "modern biotechnology" or
"gene technology" or "genetic engineering". It allows selected individual
genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between
nonrelated species. Foods produced from or using GMO are often called GMOs
foods.

There are at least 10 Reasons Why Nigeria Must Not Adopt GMOs food.

1. The Issuance of Food Safety Permits to Monsanto is Illegal

The so-called permits issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency
(NBMA) on Sunday May 1, 2016 probably at a hotel premises are not only
illegal for the obvious reasons that the transaction was unofficial and
occurred under shoddy circumstances,  but even more seriously, that they
constitute gross violations of extant laws in the Federal Republic of
Nigeria. The NBMA is not authorized under the laws of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria to certify foods as safe for release into the market under the
NBMA Act 2015. They certification meant is the Act, is for procedural
processes that involve methods of biotechnology not the safety of the food
itself. The food safety certifications (GMOs or not) are all in the purview
of the National Agency for Food, Drug and Administration and Control
(NAFDAC). Specifically, the Food Products Registration Regulation S.1.7 of
1996 under Sections 5 and 9, 2nd January 1996:

Section 1.(1) Every food manufactured, imported, exported, and advertised,
sold or distributed in Nigeria shall be registered in accordance with the
provisions of these regulations;

Section (2) notwithstanding, the provisions of sub-paragraph (1) of this
regulation the manufacture or importation of any food product as a sample
for registration shall be undertaken with the approval of the Agency.

Aforementioned, therefore suggests that, the NBMA cannot authorize the
release of any product as food or medicine.  The NBMA has no right to issue
permits on food safety in conflict with the extant laws of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria. Hence all permits issued by the agency for food are
null and void and of no effect.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act of 1992 is the core
legislation that governs environmental impact assessment in respect of
proposed projects in Nigeria and flows directly from the provisions of
principle 17 of Rio Declaration: “Environmental Impact assessment as or
national instrument shall be undertaken for proposed activities that are
likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and are
subject to a decision of a competent national authority.” The EIA Act
therefore makes it mandatory that, before the final decision is taken or
approval given for any activity likely to significantly affect the
environment (including mandatory studies for Agricultural projects in
Schedule 1), the effect of such activity shall first be taken into account.
The State and Local governments are also empowered to carry out their own
impact assessment studies.  Hence, all permits issued by NBMA with regard
to biosafety for the environment is null and void and of no effect.


2. The National Biosafety Agency Act 2015 is Unconstitutional and very
defective

The Act breaches the fundamental Precautionary Principles of a regulatory
body which include independence and right to appeal decisions. There is no
section of the Act that mandates independent research by institutions,
universities and laboratories to validate the research presented by the
Biotechnology companies like Monsanto, Bayer or Syngenta. The NBMA Act only
requires 270 days after publication in two national dailies as notification
that a GMOs crop would go to the market place.  No independent research is
required. If any studies are to be done, they would be funded by the
respondent! He who pays the piper dictates the tune.  How can a firm be the
judge over its affairs? This is a conflict of interest. The NBMA is not
staffed or equipped for validation of these studies in its role as a
regulatory agency. There is no right of appeal of the decisions of the NBMA
board by members of the public or stakeholders. However, the biotechnology
companies are given right to appeal. The fact that there is a lack of Right
to Fair Hearing for all Nigerians is a violation under Section 36 of the
1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thus, NBMA is
defective and unconstitutional.

3. GMOs crops would not increase yield potential and hence not solve the
food crisis

Monsanto pretends that they are not aware of the recent findings that GMO
corn does not increase crop yields. A recent work published in the
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability Volume 12, Issue 1,
2014 by Jack Heinemann et al. Heinemann et al., a professor of genetics at
the University of Canterbury in New Zealand found that in the United States
from 1986 to 2011 the average yields of GMO corn was lower that corn yields
over the same period in western Europe, where GMO corn are not allowed (see
attached graph from paper
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408 ).  African
countries should follow the European model that has prevented the planting
of GMO corn and other GMOs crops, and not the US model. There is nothing to
be gained for the farmer by planting GMO crops.



4. GMO foods are unhealthy

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors not to
prescribe GMOs diets for patients. They cite animal studies showing organ
damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging,
and infertility. Human studies show how GMOs foods can leave genetic
material inside the human body causing long-term damage. Genes inserted
into GMO soy, maize, yellow cassava (provitamin), yellow yam, tomatoes
(deceptively called hybrid) can transfer into DNA of bacteria in the gut.
The toxic insecticide produced by GMO corn was found in the blood of
pregnant women and their unborn foetuses. Milk from treated cows has more
of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) which has been linked
to cancer.

5. GMOs will contaminate the environment in Nigeria forever

GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel tens to hundreds of miles
away. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene fool. A
small GMO crop plantation could cause a contamination ten times the entire
Niger-Delta Oil Spills and can never be cleaned off. This contamination of
the environment with GMOs is harder to clean-up than Hiroshima atomic bomb
effects on the environment.

6. GMO foods illegally grown in Nigeria are unfit for human consumption
because of pesticide use

The European Food Safety Authority detected a 460 times above lethal limits
of a very toxic cancerogenic pesticide - dichlorvos. The GMO crops are
engineered to be "herbicide tolerant"- they deadly weed killer. Monsanto
Roundup Ready crops are designed to survive applications of the Roundup
herbicide. In the United States between 1996 and 2008, farmers sprayed an
extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. The overuse creates
"superweeds" resistant to the herbicide. This is harmful to the environment
and the GMO foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. The Monsanto
Roundup has been linked with infertility, hormonal abnormalities, birth
defects and cancer.



7.  GMOs food can create Monster humans because of gene mixtures.

Overtime, very disastrous consequences of GMO foods are emerging. The
mixing of genes from totally unrelated species through genetic engineering
is unleashing unpredictable side effects, including new toxins, allergens,
carcinogens, nutritional deficiencies and possibly Monster humans from
birth defects.



8. Monsanto scientific citations are 'Junk Science' that cannot be trusted.

The so-called research on GMO yellow cassava shows it contains protein
funded by Bill Gates (the main billionaire investor in Monsanto), was
proven to be falsehood (see retraction
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016256#aff1).
 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through BioCassava Plus Africa
program and cassava research funded the study at the Danforth Center in St
Louis Missouri, USA. The retraction of the paper published at the website
of the journal PLoS One says "The Committee on Research Integrity at Donald
Danforth Plant Science Center has carried out an institutional
investigation which revealed that significant amounts of data and
supporting documentation that were claimed to be produced by the first
author could not be found. Given that the validity of the results could not
be verified, and in line with the recommendation issued by the
corresponding author's institution, the authors retract the article. The
authors apologize to the readers." (see Retraction Watch
http://retractionwatch.com/2012/09/14/plos-one-gmo-cassava-paper-retracted-after-data-could-not-be-found/
)

However, to this day the BioCassava project is still distributing these
yellow cassava seeds in Nigeria and peddling scientific lies.

The Monsanto spokesperson cites the United States Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) as approving their GMOs crops, but does not reveal the
background. It is a known open secret that the FDA has serious public
credibility problems on issues of biosafety of GMOs crops.

Secret FDA memos made public by a lawsuit show that, the overwhelming
consensus even among FDA's own scientists was that GMOs can create
unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urge long-term studies.
But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and
the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto's
former attorney, later their vice president. He is now the US Food Safety
Czar. This is no different in Nigeria, where the former Minister of
Agriculture Dr Akinwumi Adesina, now President of the African Development
Bank (ADB), was a director at the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa
(AGRA) tied to Bill Gates Foundation, and is the main proponent of GMOs for
Africa, which many fear is a major strategy of the ADB.



9. The GMO crops Harms the Environment and Natural Ecosystem of Plants and
Animals

The GMO crops and their associated herbicides harm birds, insects,
amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. The reduce
bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. Roundup
herbicides cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths, endocrine
disruptions and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. They pass
genes to weeds which become "superweeds".



10. GMOs crops - A Danger to National Security. The Beginning of Biological
Colonialism in Africa

GMOs crops have their genes for replication (to give rise to another plant)
turned off. This means that, the farmer has to go each time to the
biotechnology companies or through their proxies at the International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Root Crops Research
Institutes (NRCRI), several Nigerian billionaires' foundations, government
agencies to collect the seeds each planting season for a fee.   In India,
for example, Bt Cotton was at first given for free, then for about 300
rupees, and 1200 rupees. The costs were out of reach for the poor Indian
farmers. About 250,000 farmers lost their cotton farms because they could
not afford the seeds and committed suicide. The largest number of public
suicides from a single cause in world history. A similar trend is now
occurring in Burkina Faso, where the Bt Cotton introduced by Monsanto does
not meet the accepted fibre length by international standards, so the
farmers have lost hard currency revenue.



Nigerians must reflect on answers to these crucial questions:

What would the biotechnology firms want in return for their GMOs seeds?

If the firm wants a particular candidate as President of Nigeria, would his
campaign not be given the seeds to distribute and the other parties
excluded?

You either vote the Pro-GMOs party or you hunger.

Would Nigeria have democracy and freedom?

If the firm or foreign government giving us the seeds wants us to pass
Same-Sex Marriage, could they not easily decide to withhold GMOs seed
distribution until we comply?

Can we worship freely as Muslims and Christians believing that abortion is
evil, if the foreign government thinks otherwise?

Can we say we have an African culture where the woman is the mother and the
man is the father, when the foreign government thinks that, that is gender
stereotyping liable to imprisonment.

Nigeria's population would be cut at will of the foreign government, by
instructing the biotechnology company to insert the gene for infertility in
yellow cassava and yellow yam which are major staples.

How are we sure that, the biotechnology companies are not the foreign
sponsors of terrorism by Boko Haram who are killing and displacing farmers
in the Northeast food basket of Nigeria, so they will lose their natural
seeds to be replaced by GMOs seeds during resettlement of Internally
Displaced People (IDPs)?

How are we sure that, the biotechnology firms are not the foreign sponsors
of the so-called Fulani herdsmen, who are devastating farming communities
in the Southeast and Southwest, the world largest producers of cassava, so
that, they can replace the natural cassava with GMOs yellow cassava
(provitamin) seeds currently being distributed by IITA and NRCI?



The gene for infertility could be inserted in our foods. Just like the
Talwar infertility fragment was inserted into tetanus vaccine according to
court proceedings against international population control organizations in
the Philippines.

We the stakeholders warn of imminent class action suits against any
biotechnology firm that introduces any foods or crops under NBMA issued
licenses. The claims of damages would be more than their net worth.
Vigilance and activism is demanded of all Nigerians.

GMOs food is the greatest weapon of biological warfare ever invented, in
the hands of the most vicious capitalist biotechnology companies.



The paradox is that, the corrupt few want to approve it by law to kill us
all. God forbid. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!



This Press Released as signed by

Academician Prof. Dr Philip C. Njemanze MD

Chairman, Global Prolife Alliance (GPA)

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