UK govt replies FG over asylum to IPOB, MASSOB members

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The Government of the United Kingdom says it has a duty to examine all asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals on their individual merits in accordance with its international obligations.

The UK government stated this in its response to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s rejection of special consideration for members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in asylum applications.

Recall that the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had released new guidelines to its decision-makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups.

In the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members of IPOB, a group that Nigeria had designated as a terrorist organisation.

The UKVI 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.’’

Reacting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.

He further stated that the decision amounted to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.

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Responding, the British High Commission in Nigeria said that the British government boasts of a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with its international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights.

“Our country policy and information notes are published on the gov.uk website. They are kept under constant review and updated periodically – an update to the Biafra separatist note is expected shortly. We publish them since our decisions can be appealed in the immigration courts, which are public, so it is clearer and fairer for all involved (applicants, their lawyers, judges, stakeholders such as the UNHCR) to know what our position and evidence base is.

“All asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations,” the Embassy said in a statement published by The Punch.

 

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