Biosafety in Nigeria: Strategy for local communities


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Biotechnology is as old as man. The old techniques involve the use of whole organisms for the benefit of man. The modern techniques are primarily concerned with modification of whole organisms, their genome or DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (DNA) for profit. Nigeria is endowed with diverse biodiversity some of which are unique to our ecosystems. While the short term economic benefits can easily be predicted, the long term health and environmental costs are largely unknown. Currently our communities are vulnerable to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). They are exposed to these organisms in agro-seeds, vaccines, foods and other essentials of life. Nigeria lack the capacity to compete and make significant contributions in the already established and fast evolving market of bio-opportunities. Consequently there is urgent need to safeguard our bio-resources against predatory advances of profit seeking multinationals. These resources and the indigenous bioengineering skills for their management are in custody of diverse communities across Nigeria. Therefore it is critical to sensitize and concientize all stakeholders on the import of biosafety and the necessity of collaboration in evolving a National Strategy for development and management of local bio-resources. This paper reviewed global and local bio-safety issues and propose a local action plans for rural communities. These strategies when implemented will safeguard our bio-resources for the future.

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Biosafety in Nigeria: Strategy for local communities

  1. 1. Biosafety in Nigeria: Strategy for Local Communities By Abdullahi, Yusuf Rigasa Department of Microbiology, Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Nigeria Abdurrahman, Idris Department of Microbiology, Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Nigeria Shittu, Aliyu Umar Department of Textiles technology and Fashion Design, Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria
  2. 2. Outline • Background • What Is Biosafety • Why Biosafety? • What are The Issues? • Who are the stakeholders? • The Proposed Strategy • Conclusions and Recommendations
  3. 3. The Possibilities
  4. 4. The ultimate, The superman The Reality, The Pig man
  5. 5. Background • GMOs are produced by multinationals for profit • Our communities are vulnerable to negative impacts of GMOs • Local and Institutional framework not adequate • There is need to develop a community based biosafety framework
  6. 6. Objective To provide a community based framework for protection and conservation of local bioresources
  7. 7. What is biosafety? Avoidance of risk to human health and safety to the conservation of the environment, as a result of the use for research and commerce of GMOs
  8. 8. Why Biosafety? • Biosafety is a big business • Our communities are vulnerable • Local rules are inadequate/ ineffective • Global and local responsibilities (Conventions/ treaties) • Money
  9. 9. What are the issues? • Possible harm to human health and safety • Survival and persistence of GMOs in soil • Monitoring of the survival and spread of GMOs • Gene transfer • Effect of GMOs on ecosystems • Bio ‐ Ethics
  10. 10. The issues Genetically Modified Organism Released No Risk Novel Traits, position Mutation, Altered gene expression Transgenes passed to other organism Altered Ecological Properties Harm to other species in the Environment Adverse Habitat modification Risks Competitive Exclusion of Natives Accelerated Pest and Pathogen Evolution
  11. 11. Who are Stakeholders • Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv) • The Ecological Fund Office • States Ministries of Environment (SMEnv)/ States Environmental Protection Agencies (SEPAs) • Local Government Environmental Health Offices (LEHO) • Universities and Research Institutes • Environmental Consultants • Communities EVERYBODY
  12. 12. The Proposed Strategy FMEnv 1 Focal point office SMEnv/ SEPA 37 Regional Focal point office Universities 124 LEHO 774 Focal point offices All communities Research Institutes 42 Green Communities Consultants Ecological Fund 1 Office
  13. 13. Conclusion and Recommendations • GMOs can be beneficial to our communities • Our communities are vulnerable to long term negative impact of GMOs (which are largely unknown) • Local institutions/ regulations are inadequate • The proposed framework will help communities safeguard their bioresources • Community participation is strongly recommended in the formulation of local biosafety rules and standards
  14. 14. Thank you for Listening