By Alex Abutu
Nigeria is ripe and ready to fully exploit the potentials of modern biotechnology in the agriculture sector, Dr Rose Gidado, Nigeria Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) has said.
Dr Gidado said, at the maiden edition of the OFAB-Nigeria Media Awards to celebrate media practitioners and distinguished Nigerians who have raised awareness on biotechnology in the country, that after series of confined trials across the country, the ability of the technology to assist Nigeria overcome challenges associated with agricultural productivity was no longer in doubt.
“In the last 12 years, our scientists and researchers have been into researches in various institutes across the country on some crops, using tools of modern biotechnology and now we have started seeing the outcome of this effort. The results from these researches and trials reinforced our belief in the technology and showed that it is the way to go,” she said.
She noted that the journey that cumulated in the awards ceremony started some eight years ago, when the Nigeria chapter of OFAB was launched. “In the last 8-years, we have travelled to the nooks and crannies of the country spreading the messages of hope, demystifying fear and encouraging our people especially farmers and policy makers on the power as well as the efficacy of modern biotechnology to change the way farming is done.
“In today’s world farming can only become attractive, profitable and meaningful if science and technology is injected into it. But efforts to ensure this happens in Nigeria are constantly attacked and criticised by those who are not competent or knowledgeable enough on the issue,” Gidado added.
The media is being celebrated as a result of their contribution to promoting the technology in Nigeria. It is giving honour to whom honour is due. The media has been our main ally since we set out to promote modern biotechnology in the country. Although, the media has done a tremendous job in helping us to spread the messages, the media on the hand, has also given voices to those against the technology.
Mrs Omolara Afolayan of Television Continental (TVC) was the overall winner as well as the winner in the television category, Mallam Abdullah El-
Kurube of Vanguard newspaper emerged the winner in the print category and Ifeanyi Ugwoke was the winner in the radio category.
At the ceremony, former Nigeria President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was honoured with the Grand Visionary Leadership award while Prof. Turner Isoun, former Minister of Science and Technology and Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology were honoured for their contribution to setting the necessary foundation for biotechnology in Nigeria.
Others honoured at the ceremony include Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, Rep. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, Rep. Gbenga Makanguola, Arc. Kabiru Ibrahim and Prof. Bamdele Solomon, former Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency.