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BIO-SAFETY LAW CRITICAL TO FOOD SECURITY, SAYS BOROFFICE

By NBF News
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PIONEER Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, Prof. Robert Ajayi Boroffice, has charged the Senate to pass the National Bio-safety Bill to enable Nigeria solve its food security issues.

Boroffice, who spoke with The Guardian in Abuja, also called on Nigeria to domesticate outstanding international space laws, especially the one that empowers private individuals to own satellites in Nigeria.

According to him, 'there are some space laws that we need to domesticate. There is also the bio-safety law that we have not passed. Our failure to pass this law will hamper our development. It affects the way people look at us internationally. There are accepted laws internationally that we need to pass and be part of the global technology world.'

He added:  'I was party to the bio-safety bill at the gestational period when I was at the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) long ago. I have not seen the details of the law proposed to NASS in its current state, but I think that it will definitely impact on the economy.

'For instance, if you want to bring in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), these are the things that are specified in the bio-safety laws.  If you want to increase food production and eliminate scarcity, you can not do without the bill. I am one of those who advocate for the use of GMOs, even though some people are scared. Without bio-safety regulation, we cannot practice this. There are also certain procedures that we have to follow to manipulate certain organisms.'

Boroffice, who is also aspiring to the Senate in the April elections, promised to work with his colleagues, if elected, to ensure that relevant laws that encourage and promote science, technology and innovation are passed.

He said: 'There are also some international laws that we have not domesticated, especially in the area of space science. For instance, we are talking about astronauts or ownership of launch risks. If there is disaster when launching a satellite, it is the state that is liable not the company. We have to domesticate international laws that make companies involved also liable.'

On satellite ownership, Boroffice said: 'So far, it is only the state that is involved in satellite ownership in Nigeria but individuals may also be interested in the procurement of satellites.'