From May 23-25, 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria, Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) and our coalition partners held a national conference on the theme Just Governance: The Nigerian Bio-Safety Law, GMOs, and Implications for Nigeria and Africa.
AFJN Executive Director Rev. Aniedi Okure remarked in his opening address that Nigeria should act as a beacon of light on the African hill. The country’s collective wealth far surpasses that of Britain, and Nigeria’s Lagos state produces, “about $90 billion a year in goods and services, making its economy bigger than that of most African countries, including Ghana and Kenya” (Africa Renewal April 2016 p. 8). However, Nigeria is where it is today because those entrusted with governance have failed in working for the common good of the people and the welfare of the state. He added that as a matter of fact Nigeria’s collective wealth far surpasses that of Britain.
On the issue of the Nigerian Bio-Safety Law, the coalition issued a communiqué at the end of the conference stating that they strongly object to the release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria, because it is not, among other things, a solution to hunger in Nigeria or Africa.
262 people were registered for the conference; however, the attendance turned out to be nearly 300. It is important to note that both sides of the debate on the issue of GMOs were present. Three speakers came from Burkina Faso were among those to testify on how GMOs negatively affected their people, while representatives from Monsanto also provided their arguments.