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MORAL IMPLICATIONS PARAMOUNT IN THE ISSUE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
The Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu has reemphasized that moral implication remains a central concern on the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms; and therefore called for caution on the outright acceptance of these scientific feats, particularly in Nigeria.
The CSN Secretary General made this assertion in his welcome address at a one-day interactive workshop jointly organized by the Secretariat and Federal Government agencies responsible for the activities of Genetically Modified Organisms in the country. The agencies are: the National Biotechnology Development Agency; National Biosafety Mgt. Agency and the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, Nigeria Chapter. Another partner in the collaboration is an Abuja faith based Non-Governmental Organization – Action Family Foundation.
The programme with the theme: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s ) in Nigeria: Faith Based Perspectives; took place at the Daughters of Divine Love Retreat and Conference Centre (DRACC), Lugbe, Abuja; and was attended by participants from different parts of the country, including Government scientists and experts of the Catholic Church. The Metropolitan of Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan was the Special Guest of Honour.
Speaking on the position of the Church and the lobby for the endorsement of the Church as one body for Genetically Modified Organisms; Father Madu declared: “So far, it has been a case of biosafety/biosecurity on the one hand and bio-risk/bio-piracy on the other. “ He continued: “The Catholic Church encompasses different sensibilities on GMO’s but the trend is toward a cautiously open attitude as she continues to keep the matter under review and to listen to expertise. In all cases, the moral implications of GMO have remained a central concern.”
The CSN Secretary General looked at the submissions of parties in support of GMO and those against it; and stressed the importance of interactive discussions by all concerned to enable amicable arrival at a beneficial outcome for the common good of all.
He stated: “The common good, the welfare of the underprivileged and the general wellbeing of our people are foremost in the mind of the Catholic, So far, poor and developing or should I say endangered countries like ours are shielded by the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol, which makes clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle and allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits.”
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