A scientist, Prof. Philip Njemanze, has called for caution in the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) or hybrid food products into the country.
Njemanze made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Owerri.
The scientist noted that foreign interest groups coming into the country with GMO products were doing so in their selfish interest rather than that of Nigerians.
He added that “it is imperative that Nigerians listen to warnings by the Ebonyi State Bio-technology Centre that we sustain the cultivation and consumption of our local rice rather than the newly introduced hybrid rice."
“The old local rice we have which these foreign investors are trying to discourage us from eating is more nutritious than the hybrid rice they are bringing in.”
Njemanze, a member of the Committee on Review of GMO Foods recently constituted by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, explained that GMOs have systematic evidence on brain development.
He said that “the review committee on GMO foods inaugurated by the Catholic Bishops Conference and Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs discovered that most autism cases are linked to consumption of GMO foods."
“The committee also found that there is clear-cut relations between autism and the use of glysophate."
“Also, there is relationship between GMO foods and the growth of cancer as replicated in animal experiments in Europe, Australia and U.S.”
The scientist warned that what was most scaring to scientists was the possibility of mass sterilisation of persons who consumed these foods.
Referring to a foreign media publication in the year 2001, Njemanze recalled the development of a gene called episite gene capable of causing mass sterilisation of people via consumption of foods without the consumers finding out.
He stressed the need for Federal Government to ensure that only NAFDAC regulate the introduction and consumption of food products in the country.
He also advised the Federal Government to introduce a policy to stop foreign direct aid in the nation’s health sector.
He added that “foreign direct aid in health can be disastrous because it can derail good polices on health."
“I want to advice government to rather, come up with a policy directing all foreign aid into a special fund which will be redistributed according to our national needs."
“Allowing foreign aid in health to continue the way the donors want it amounts to skewing the health system in Nigeria’’, he said.