Trouble for IPOB as UK Government Releases New Policy Against Violent Members, Asylum-seeking, Others

Trouble for IPOB as UK Government Releases New Policy Against Violent Members, Asylum-seeking, Others

  • The government of the United Kingdom has released a new guideline to would help its officers make decisions on some activities of members of the designated Indigenous People of Biafra
  • The decision of the British government was contained in a new statement outlining the policy guidelines for its decision-makers on granting asylum to persons connected to IPOB, MASSOB or any Biafra group
  • According to the guideline, some members of the group and its paramilitary wing, Eastern Security Network, have been involved in the violation of human rights in Nigeria

The members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and other Biafran groups have been placed under strict scrutiny by the government of the United Kingdom.

The Punch reports that the UK government in the latest policy guideline published on its website on May 3, said that the IPOB has been proscribed by the Nigerian government as a terrorist group and that its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), have reportedly committed human rights violations.

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The UK in its new policy also listed some guides for its officers while reviewing asylum applications submitted by members of the group through the government's asylum program.

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB, MASSOB, Biafra agitation, United Kingdom, Asylum
The UK government has recognised IPOB as a terrorist group. Photo: MARCO LONGARI
Source: Getty Images

In the guideline titled, ‘Country policy and information note: Separatist groups in the South-East, Nigeria', the UK Visa and Immigration said persons or groups who commit human rights abuse must not be granted asylum.

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In March 2021, the government of the UK in its guidelines had urged its decision-makers to consider IPOB members for asylum.

UK guidelines and policy to aid asylum decision-makers

The guidelines said that any member of the group 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.

However, its recent guidelines admitted the group and its paramilitary wing which was created in December 2020 have reportedly committed human rights violations in Nigeria captured in various media articles.

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The new guideline said:

“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.
“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."

The UK government noted that persons who commit human rights violations must not be granted asylum and that if such a person is excluded from the Refugee Convention, they will also be excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection.

Due checks for persons seeking refugee status in the UK

According to the policy, decision-makers are expected to check if there have been previous applications for a UK visa or another form of leave by such an individual.

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It said that applications for asylum matched to visas should be adequately investigated before scheduling an asylum interview as establishing a conventional reason is not sufficient to be recognised as a refugee.

Continuing, the UK government said that for an asylum application to succeed, each case must be considered based on facts, taking account into the legal status, profile, size and organisations to which the person belongs and their activities.

The decision-makers must also put into consideration, whether a person in the UK would wish to continue their activism if returned to Nigeria (if not, why not) and whether the group/organisation has a presence in Nigeria as well as outside of the country and any evidence that it is being monitored by the government.

They are also expected to consider whether the person's profile and political activities - online or offline - his or her documentary evidence; profile and activities of family members, past treatment of the person, and evidence that their activities in the UK may have come to the attention of the Nigerian security agencies.

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According to the guideline, the decision-makers should also consider whether the individual supports and is active on behalf of IPOB, which is a proscribed group in Nigeria, and whether they fear prosecution rather than persecution.

It added:

“The onus is on the person to demonstrate that they are of interest to the government because of their profile and activities and are at risk of serious harm or persecution.”

Full list: Southeast governors under fire as Nnamdi Kanu's family reveals 8-point demand made to FG

Family members of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, had accused southeast governors of sabotage.

Kanu's younger brother, Emmanuel said the IPOB leader had made an eight-point demand from the federal government when he (Kanu) met with the southeast governors shortly before the raid at the late father's palace.

Speaking on behalf of the Kanu family, Emmanuel sought explanations from the southeast governors over their failure to convey Kanu's demands to the FG as agreed by the parties involved.

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Nnamdi Kanu: Soludo advises FG, reveals 2 actions to take on IPOB leader

The governor of Anambra state, Chukwuma Soludo, had advised the federal government on how to deal with Nnamdi Kanu's case.

Soludo said the trial of the IPOB leader should be sped up so that he either gets convicted of freed by the court.

The Anambra state governor also spoke on establishing a truth and reconciliation panel to address the agitation in the southeast region.


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