Following the declaration of a Biafran passport by Sunny Okereafor, the National Director of Information, MASSOB two weeks ago, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have declined any recognition of the passport being issued by the movement.
Sunny Okereafor had added that the passport was valid worldwide and that travel documents costs only N5,000 while renewal was only N2,000. He continued by saying; “I assure you that the Biafran passport is valid. Except Nigeria, other countries of the world accept Biafran passport and allow our citizens to travel with it. In Europe, North and South America, Biafran passport is accepted. Nigeria is the only country that seizes Biafran passport. Go to neighbouring Ghana here, they will stamp the passport for you. Don’t be confused by the propaganda of the Nigerian government that there is nothing like Biafra passport.”
In his declaration, “MASSOB appeals to Biafran citizens to procure their passport and use it to travel. If you doubt me, get a Nigerian passport while I have my Biafran passport; when we get to Europe, you will see who they will welcome than the other. Many people with the Nigerian passport have been repatriated, but have you heard of anybody with Biafran passport receiving such ill-treatment?”
In a response to The Punch correspondent’s email to the American consulate in Lagos inquiring to clarify the claims by MASSOB, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the consulate, Frank Sellin, said, “The United States does not consider passports purporting to be from a Biafra entity to be a valid legal document for purposes of visa issuance.”
In an email by the British Government to The Punch, the British government also denied acceptance and recognition of the Biafran passport, recalling in a statement made by the Mr. Joe Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer of the British High Commission, Abuja which read in part “The answer is unequivocally ‘no’. The UK does not recognise the so-called Biafran passport, “The position of the UK Government during the Biafran War is a matter of historical record. The UK Government’s position, which reflected the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, was to recognise the borders laid down at independence. Adding that “The Biafran War caused great suffering and the UK supported the reconciliation work that followed the conflict. The UK supports the territorial integrity of Nigeria and the Nigerian Government’s commitment to work for a secure and prosperous Nigeria for all Nigerians.”