The United Kingdom Government have classified the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation.
In a May 2022 update of its asylum policy, the UK government excluded members of the group from seeking refuge in England. In April 2021 that the UK was planning to grant asylum to persecuted members of the separatist group, but this update signals a u-turn.
The UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision makers to consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.
If the person can prove persecution, then the IPOB member or supporter could be granted asylum.
UKVI RECOGNISES IPOB AS TERRORIST ORGANISATION
In its May 2022 policy update, UKVI referred to IPOB as a terrorist organisation to be excluded from its asylum programme over alleged links to violence in the south-east.
“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,” UKVI said in its policy notes.
It added that “MASSOB has been banned, but is not a proscribed terrorist group in Nigeria. It too has reportedly been involved in violent clashes with the authorities”.
UKVI went on to tell its decision makers 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 UK added.
In September 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria declared IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu, a terrorist group.
Kanu, is facing charges bordering on treason, has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since repatriation in June 2021.
In an updated UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) policy, the British Home Office announced new rules.
The guidelines issued to decision makers explained how to consider and grant asylum applications to Biafra agitators.