‘WHY NIGERIA MAY NOT REAP DESIRED BENEFITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY’ - Soul 2 Soul Mates Blog

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2/01/2018

‘WHY NIGERIA MAY NOT REAP DESIRED BENEFITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY’

‘WHY NIGERIA MAY NOT REAP DESIRED BENEFITS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY’
The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr. Rufus Ebegba, has said that Nigeria
may not reap the desired benefit of modern biotechnology if Safe Science, which is a foundation of national development, is not properly communicated.
Ebegba disclosed this in Abuja recently, while presenting a paper on ‘Science, Technology and Modern Society: Role of Communication in Promoting Sustainable Livelihood,’ at the launching of Science Cafe by Journalist for Social Development Initiative (JSDI), in collaboration with Connected Development.

He highlighted the challenge of how certain innovations are perceived in Nigeria, further adding that among certain portions of the general public, there is mistrust and even fear of science and technology.
Accordingly to him, “there are many possible explanations for this. Some argue that there is a communication gap between scientists and society owing to the inability of some scientists to communicate in plain language. Others have said that public ignorance and misunderstanding is to blame for this negative attitude.”

Ebegba stressed that mistrust and fear of science and technology could become a serious problem especially when it begins to influence how quickly a technology is adopted to solve local problems and drive national development.
He stated: “The controversy surrounding modern biotechnology, GMOs and biosafety in particular, is an example of how the gap between scientific findings and public opinions and attitudes can threaten new technological innovations.
“Issues like these are precisely why good scientific communication is important. The media is a powerful tool which we must use to take Nigeria from being a net consumer of the products of scientific innovations to being pioneer in various scientific and technological fields.”
The DG explained that good science journalism is evidenced base, factual, solution-based and does not peddle sensationalism, conspiracy theories or half-baked data from unverifiable sources or in corroborative sources as fact.
“Communicating science is a vital ingredient for development. Safe science is a foundation for national development and if this foundation is not properly communicated, the nation may not reap the desired benefits,” Ebegba warned.

Earlier, the National Coordinator, JSDI, Michael Etta said Science and technology remained a key pivotal to human growth, but expressed his dissatisfaction about this part of the world where people resist science and technology in many ways due to lack of understanding.

Against this background, he noted that the science cafe was launched to serve as a platform for stakeholders to deliberate, enlighten the people and bridge the communication gap in science and technology.

“Science and technology is a key driver of human development but because of the complex nature of science and technology people have jettisoned this technology not minding the aftermath benefit that comes with this technology. So, science cafe is designed to see how we can bring people together to help simplify this concept so that people can embrace science and technology and also maximise the benefits,” Etta added.
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