By Mohammed Kandi
Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, said that Biotechnology has become Global Economic Development recommended for countries to advance and tackle immediate global challenges.
Tambuwal disclosed this recently at the opening of report presentation to the House on the passage of biosafety bill.
Represented by the House Leader, Mulikat Akande Adeola, the Speaker noted in his Keynote address Titled: “Legislating Biosafety Law For National Economic Development and Food Security”, that the sensitization “is timely because biotechnology has become an offer for Economic Development globally, and the Biosafety Bill is before the House of Representatives for consideration.”
“The Forum is to share with us the potentials biosafety has to offer, particularly in the field of agriculture, from increased yield to environmental safety; The growing world population is a major challenge that has led to increased demand for food, feed, fibre, loss of agricultural land, shortage of water for irrigation, climate change, increasing demand for renewable fuels, reduced agro-biodiversity and loss of natural habitats (biodiversity),” she said.
“The application of biotechnology under a legal framework, therefore, can be a valuable tool for addressing the several challenges arising from national population growth and giving consumers in Nigeria the sense of choice and availability of quality products under a sustainable environment”, she reiterated,” she added.
She noted that the Biosafety law “is the only safety valve to be able to secure our environment from being a dumping ground for GMO’s and to promote safe adoption of biotechnology for national development.”
“I therefore wish to use this medium to urge the Honourable Members to give the Biosafety Bill a speedy passage in order for our country to be on the same page with other countries in the world who are already domesticating this all important technology”, she appealed.
In his remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Muhammad Tahir Monguno expressed optimism that the Bill would be passed before the end of the seventh Assembly.
He said: “We are hoping that at the end of the day the Bill is signed into law because it is in the interest of the country, especially for the purpose of diversification of our economy, from mono-economy that depends on oil, to an economy that has other sources of revenue like agriculture.”
“We need to adopt modern technologies like biotechnology with a view to increasing food production, especially against the backdrop of the fact that our population is rising at a geo-metric progression while food production is decreasing. There is therefore, need to increase the food production by way of adopting modern technologies to meet the increasing population we have in the country”, he added.
Similarly, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) Lucy Ogbadu, appealed for the support of the Lawmakers to ensure the speedy passage of the bill.
Ogbadu, who said Nigeria, cannot afford to miss out on gene revolution, however, appealed for improved budgetary allocation for the effort.
The Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) Prof. B.Y. Abubakar request for speedy assent of Biosafety Bill to enable the country enjoy the benefits of biotechnology as other countries are doing.