Seventeen Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have taken the Federal Government to an Abuja Federal High Court over permits issued by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) for genetically modified cotton and maize in the country.
The groups in a statement by the Project Officer, Biosafety for Home of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Joyce Ebebeinwe, also asked for the revocation of the confined field trial for GMO Maize with code number NK603 and MON89034X NK 603 in Nigeria.
The groups argued that the permits given to Monsanto were issued on May 1, 2016, which fell on was a Sunday, while the following day was a workers’ day Public Holiday.
The groups argued that the permit should be declared illegal, null and void, adding that contended that NBMA violated Nigerians’ fundamental human rights.
They are, therefore, asking the court for a perpetual injunction to restrain Monsanto and NBDA from carrying out any activity pursuant to the permits.
The respondents are NBMA, the Minister of Environment, MOSANTO, NABDA, Minister of Agriculture, the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
In the Originating Summons deposed to by HOMEF’s Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, the groups are asking the court to determine: “Whether with regard to section 15 of the interpretation Act 2004, the grant of approval by the agency on a Sunday was a valid Act.
“Having regard to sections 2 and 3 (B) of Biosafety Act, 2015 as well as Article 1 of Cartagena protocol, principle 15 of the RIO declaration on environment and development codifying the customary international law on precautionary principle, whether granting the permits satisfied the letters and spirit of the biosafety Act 2015, and
“Given the nature of the subject matter and the provisions of the enabling laws, the agency has exercised its discretion to grant the approval legally and fairly,” among others.