The National Biosafety Management Agency on Wednesday described as untrue claims that poisonous rice had found its way into the Nigerian market.
It said such claims were the from mischief makers as no genetically modified rice is in the country.
The Director-General, NBMA, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, made the clarification during a press briefing in Abuja.
He said the Federal Government was mindful of the safety of Nigerians and as such would not open its borders to what had not been properly released and accepted in other countries.
He said, “The attention of the NBMA has been drawn to a certain online post that a firm and the government of Nigeria have flooded the Nigerian market with the GM rice purported to be poisonous.
“This falsehood definitely is the product of the writer’s imagination, who probably is using a pseudo name.
“As a regulatory body established by the government to regulate the activities of modern biotechnology and the release and use of genetically modified organisms in the country to ensure safety to the environment and human health, the NBMA wishes to state that there is no iota of truth in the said post and reinstates that no GM rice has either been imported or released officially into the country.
“In a bid to cast aspersions on the modest efforts of the government towards the adoption of safe biotechnology in Nigeria, the writer craftly and maliciously laced his post with poison to cause unnecessary public panic.”
Ebegba said the importation of rice has been banned by the Federal government, and that nowhere in the world is genetically modified rice used commercially.
He added, “No GM rice has been commercially released anywhere in the world. It should also be recalled that the government has banned the importation of rice in Nigeria. This ban was widely publicised in the media and there are no indications that the ban has been lifted.
“The NBMA therefore enjoins Nigerians to disregard the post and join hands with the agency in its quest to ensure safety in the practice of modern biotechnology in Nigeria in line with global best practices.”
He said the agency would continue to carry out its functions effectively and would not compromise on its mandate.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.