Biotech agencies and NIREC report: Unpatriotic activism, whose interest?

By Dr. Hannah Nnadi

Dear Editor,


I’m writing the article below as a concerned Nigerian, who has watched how some activists have taken it upon themselves to smear the integrity of government agencies and individuals working for the good of the country.


Nigerians should be aware and be on the alert for these activists in order not to be misled.


The attitude of these so called activists to

frustrate government

agencies must be resisted as their actions are very unpatriotic and misleading.


In light of ongoing discussions and debates on the issues raised, I would be grateful if you can help publish this article.

Recently, a group representing NIREC issued a press release with the intention of misleading the public and pursuing an alien agenda. In the said release, the group led by anti GMO activists listed the names of the Director General/CEO of the National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, and Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, the Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency as members of NIREC.


Both agencies reacted to the release and issued statements distancing themselves and their DGs from the purported report. Nnimmo Bassey, one of the architects of the report, in an article published by Environews acknowledged that both agencies and their directors general were not part of the report.


In that publication, Bassey, after shamefully acknowledging that those personalities were not members of NIREC, went further to cast aspersions on the integrity of the agencies with the intention of discrediting them before the public. Bassey has become desperate and personal in his pursed agenda. His actions show a vendetta against these personalities and dragging the public along.


It is therefore important to state the following:

1. The NBMA and NABDA are both agencies of government created by law.

2. Both agencies were established and given specific mandates by the federal government.

3. Nnimmo Bassey was an active player in the processes that cumulated in the

establishment of the NBMA, so to turn around and say that the Agency is a brain child of NABDA questions his credibility and integrity. Moreover, the national biosafety bill passed through two legislative houses from 2009 to 2015. He cannot be more knowledgeable on matters of biological sciences as an architect than the experts on the subject matter. 

4. There is a difference between activism for personal aggrandisement and activism for national development, Nnimmo of the former.

5. Government will not be drawn into the mud by self seeking and see-nothing-good-in-Nigeria activists.

6. Paid activists have infiltrated and cornered the objective for setting up NIREC to their own selfish interests. NIREC should be on the watch out so that it will not be dragged to the mud.

7. It is a shame that Bassey cannot, till now, differentiate between the National Biosafety Management Agency abbreviated as NBMA and the National Biotechnology Development Agency abbreviated as NABDA.

8. NBMA is a government agency that strictly regulates the use of modern biotechnology inNigeria. NABDA is another government agency charged with the responsibility of promoting the use of modern biotechnology. Because one regulates and the other promotes does not mean, they cannot collaborate or work together.

9. There is a limit to which individuals seeking their daily bread should go. Running down a government agency that you contributed actively to establish questions your rationale

and unnecessary and destructive criticisms.

Dr. Hannah Nnadi is a Research Scientist based in Lagos