The Indigenous People of Biafra, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, and other Biafran groups have been barred from participating in the UK’s asylum programme.
The British government said on Thursday that the Nigerian Government had designated IPOB as a terrorist organization, and that members of the organization and its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network, had allegedly violated human rights.
As a result, the United Kingdom declared that people who commit human rights violations would not be granted asylum.
In its May 2022 policy update, the UK Visas and Immigration referred to IPOB should be barred from its asylum program due to alleged links to violence in the south-east.
It went on to say that “MASSOB has been banned, but it is not a terrorist group in Nigeria.” It, too, is said to have beeninvolved in violent clashes with authorities.”
“If a person has been involved with IPOB (and/or an affiliated group), MASSOB, or any other ‘Biafran’ group that incites or uses violence to achieve its aims, decision makers must consider whether one (or more) of the exclusion clauses under the Refugee Convention is applicable,” UKVI added.
NIgeria commends decision
Mallam Garba Shehu, Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, praised the UK government’s decision.
He said in a statement on Friday that that IPOB’s “powerful communication network of TV and radio stations, including London-based Radio Biafra, was used effectively to spread misinformation abroad and incite violence at home”.
He said that now that IPOB has been correctly designated a terrorist organisation, the Federal Government wants UK authorities to confiscate their assets, close down their communication channels, and sanction the issuance of visas to IPOB’s funders in Nigeria.
The statement emphasized the importance of such sanctions in combating other terrorist organisations.
According to the statement, IPOB’s terror has resulted in villagers being slaughtered, school buses being set ablaze, and politicians’ homes being bombed, all while inciting violence and religious and ethnic tensions between Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim populations.
He bemoaned the fact that Africa has become a breeding ground for terrorist organizations, which he contends are profiting from the pandemic’s economic devastation.
Writing by Saadatu Albashir, additional reporting by Abdullah Bello