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Monday, July 24, 2017

Catholic Medics say technology without adequate safety is immoral

The Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (ACMPN) has declared that the application of any technology without adequate assurance of safety is immoral, reports ITRealms.

Rising from its 12th scientific conference and annual general meeting with the theme Genetically-Modified Organisms: How Harmful, Harmless or Beneficial? which took place at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt from 6th to 8th July, 2017, the group noted that food and adequate nutrition are among the basic needs of people; and so the case for improved methods of food production and distribution is legitimate and noble.

ACMPN in a communique made available to ITRealms at the weekend and endorsed by the National President, Dr. Emmanuel Okechukwu and Secretary, Local Organising Committee (LOC), Dr. Nera Kadiri-Eneh, pointed out that strict control is necessary in the introduction and deployment of new technologies in such area as the manipulation of genetic materials across species, the effects of which we may not predict or mitigate.

“We commend the efforts by the government in establishing the GMO regulatory and development agencies. However, it would appear that both funding and technical capacity render them ill-equipped to effectively and efficiently carry out their essentially patriotic roles. In the current scenario, the processes of regulating GMOs are skewed in favour of the international promoters and merchants of GMOs who wield strong financial influences. 

"Thus, without substantially exploiting the existing safe and natural technologies neither of agricultural advancements nor of our vast land and water resources (including the new pro-biotic microbial technology), dabbling into the controversial GMO technology is overtly precarious,” the group said.

They stressed their endorsement of the position of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria expressed at the sensitization workshop on faith-based perspectives on GMOs which was co-hosted by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria on February 7, 2017 in Abuja, to the effect that in order to protect the health of Nigerians and the integrity of our agricultural landscape as well as national food security, the Precautionary Principle should be applied.

In addition, ACMPN said they aligned with the position of eminent Nigerian Christian and Muslim scholars convoked by the Nigerian Inter-Religious Committee (NIREC) which in 2016 evaluated some 250 documented evidences and interacted with the Nigerian GMO regulatory and development agencies on the issues of GMO safety.

Further, the committee concluded that there are illegal GMOs already circulating in the country as foods, which are unknown to, and unregulated by the designated agencies. Also, other illegal and unverified GMO crops are in dissemination within the country’s agricultural map. This situation is highly deplored as it portends grave dangers to family health and national food security.

A total of 77 participants from 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory as well as 14 dioceses attended the events.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Pix: Onu Ogbonnia, Minister Science & Technology
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