UK Recognises IPOB As Terrorist Group, Excludes Members From Asylum
The United Kingdom has recognised the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation and a group that uses violence to achieve its aims.
The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration office disclosed this in its May 2022 policy update.
Recall that in April 2021 that the UK was planning to grant asylum to persecuted members of the separatist group, as part of its refugee policy published at the time.
The policy, at the time, was for asylum to be granted to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB)”.
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.
Policy updates by UKVI clearly referred to IPOB whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu is currently in the custody of Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) as a terrorist organisation and 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.
“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.”
In 2017, the Nigerian government declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
In recent times, the proscribed group has been accused of perpetrating violent attacks in the South East in order to achieve its secession agenda but IPOB has repeatedly denied being behind the attacks.