By Tony Nwanne
A seven-day ultimatum has been given to retail store giants, Shoprite and Next Cash ‘N’ Carry, by the Federal Government, through the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), to withdraw any product that contains Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) from their shelves or risk a total shutdown.
Rufus Ebegba, the Director-General, NBMA, said the agency had received complaints from members of the public about the sale of GMO foods in the two stores.
He stated, “Recently, we carried out a survey of likely GMO products and we have been able to have some collections, some materials that we call GMO suspects. We call them GMO suspects because we have not been able to ascertain their status.
“Why we have invited the superstores basically is for them to understand that some of their products need to be properly ascertained before they are brought in, especially the imported ones that may contain genetically modified materials, so that they will not run afoul of the law.
“There is a law in place. We will not want any segment of the society out of ignorance to act in manners that will infringe on the law. The Biosafety Management Act empowers the NBMA to regulate the activities of modern biotechnology and the use of genetically modified organisms.”
According to him, the agency will not hesitate to shut down any of the stores found selling unregistered GMO products in the country.