UK tags IPOB as Terrorist Group, Excluded from Asylum

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Authorities in the United Kingdom have reportedly excluded members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and some other secessionists from seeking asylum in their country.

In its updated asylum policy published in May the UK explained that it took the decision as a result of the recent activities of IPOB members as reported in Nigeria.

The UK government said Nigerians could now claim asylum in the UK if they face “fear of persecution and/or serious harm by members of Boko Haram because of” their “actual or perceived opposition to the group”.

However, in its May 2022 policy update seen by TheCable, 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.

The policy brief noted that anyone excluded in this manner is also “excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection”.

UKVI also advised that “decision makers must, however, still consider all claims on an individual basis, taking into account each case’s specific facts”.

Since the last update in July 2021, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB and a UK citizen, has been in the custody of the Nigerian government on the grounds of allegations, including treason.

In its 2022 new year message, the group said the Nigerian national anthem will no longer be sung across schools in the south-east.




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