The United Kingdom’s government has designated the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group.
The UK has designated IPOB as a terrorist organization, according to an amended policy statement on asylum published on the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website.
The policy, which was amended in May 2022, states that it supports the Nigerian government’s designation of IPOB and its militant wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), as terrorist groups.
IPOB and ESN, led by the detained Nnamdi Kanu, have also been blamed by the UK government for rising violence and human rights breaches in the country’s southeast area, with visa authorities ordering members of the organization to be excluded from the country’s refugee program.
Despite the blanket exclusion, the statement stated that each case of asylum application by those who may be associated to the organisations will be reviewed on an individual basis.
“The Nigerian government has designated IPOB as a terrorist organization, and members of the organization and its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (established in December 2020), have allegedly perpetrated human rights violations in Nigeria,” UKVI stated in the amended policy notes.
“MASSOB has been banned, but it is not a designated terrorist organisation in Nigeria,” it continued.
It, too, is said to have engaged in violent fights with authorities.”
The UK government through the UKVI office added that “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 policy added that those affected by the fresh directive are also “excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection” but UKVI further urged that “decision-makers must, however, still consider all claims on an individual basis, taking into account each case’s specific facts”.
According to Anaedoonline.ng, the UK government said in April 2022 that it intends to offer sanctuary to IPOB members who may face persecution from the Nigerian government as a result of their engagement in the Biafra struggle.
The position sparked outrage and protest from Nigeria’s federal government, requiring the policy to be changed.
With the most recent update, the UK now agrees with the Nigerian government’s view on IPOB, ESN, and their operations.
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