NIGERIA— The Nigerian National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has reassured Nigerians that consuming TELA maize, a newly approved genetically modified variety, is safe following widespread public concerns.

This comes after the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), introduced four innovative maize variants designed to improve yields for farmers across Africa.

The new variants, collectively known as “TELA Maize Varieties,” include SAMMAZ 72T, SAMMAZ 73T, SAMMAZ 74T, and SAMMAZ 75T.

The agency’s spokesperson, Gloria Ogbaki, addressed these concerns in a statement released on June 24.

“NBMA wishes to state that the safety and health of Nigerians are of topmost importance; we will not compromise on this,” Ms. Ogbaki affirmed.

We take into serious cognizance the concerns of Nigerians because maize is a staple crop of great importance to the country,” she noted.

In light of these concerns, the NBMA emphasized its commitment to transparency, safety, and unbiased decision-making regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

According to Ms. Ogbaki, the agency conducted a thorough risk assessment and analysis of TELA maize to ensure its safety for human consumption.

The risk assessment involved a comprehensive evaluation by experts and scientists from academia and various regulatory bodies.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) participated in the certification process.

Additionally, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), and several university research centres contributed to the review.

“They worked with our internal review process and confirmed that TELA maize meets safety standards. We urge Nigerians to remain calm and trust in the rigorous evaluation process. TELA maize has been approved based on scientific evidence. Its benefits to farmers are significant,” the statement continued.

TELA maize is known for its drought resistance and insect protection, qualities that promise to enhance agricultural productivity and food security in Nigeria.

However, introducing this genetically modified maize has sparked debates about its potential impact on consumer health.

Despite these concerns, the NBMA’s rigorous evaluation process and endorsement from multiple regulatory and scientific bodies aim to ensure the public that TELA maize is safe for consumption.

The agency encourages Nigerians to have confidence in the scientific evaluations that underpin the approval of TELA maize and to trust that their health and safety remain a top priority.

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