The United Kingdom government has stated that the Indigenous People of Biafra is neither a terrorist group nor proscribed in the European country.
The UK in a release on Friday obtained by SaharaReporters said reports claiming it designated the group as terrorists were false.
The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration office disclosed in its May 2022 policy update said, “IPOB is proscribed as a terrorist group by the Nigerian government, and members of the group and its paramilitary wing – the Eastern Security Network (created in December 2020) – have reportedly committed human rights violations in Nigeria.
“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.
“Persons who commit human rights violations must not be granted asylum.”
The Nigerian government in its statement issued by the presidency’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, had said the UK’s stance was a welcome development and should be followed up with appropriate actions.
But a statement by the British High Commission Abuja on Friday said this wasn’t the case.
It reads, “We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law. These reports are untrue. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK.
“The inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COl) and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types of protection and human rights claims.
“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account relevant background country information and case law.
“The CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national and international organisations; and non-government organisations.
“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public, and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.
“The document is publicly available on our UK Government website, Gov.UK at www.gov.uk/government/publications/nigeria-country-policy-and-information-notes.”
SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK