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UK Government Barred IPOB Members, Described The Group As A Terrorist Organisations 

 

The United Kingdom Government has described the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terrorist group proscribed by the Nigerian government and advised the FG on how to relate with the group.

This was disclosed under the Country policy and information note: Separatist groups in the South-East, Nigeria updated on may 3.

The government of UK stated that going by the violent rhetoric of the IPOB, UK will not accept members of the group as refugees in the UK, agreeing that the group is implicated in inciting violence against the state.

Read Also: IPOB LEADER: FGN accuses “Nnamdi Kanu” of setting attacks that killed 175 security personnel and several others. 

“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 (see Indigenous People of ‘Biafra’ (IPOB) and various media articles in Activities and Clashes between state and IPOB)

” 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.

“If the person is excluded from the Refugee Convention, they will also be excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection.

“Although both MASSOB and IPOB have advocated for peaceful change they have also used rhetoric that may encourage violence and, in some instances, used violence directly against the state and its agents. In recent years, IPOB appears to have become the publicly dominant ‘Biafran’ separatist group,” it stated.

However, the UK government has advised the federal government to prosecute (not persecute) the IPOB group in line with the rule of laws of the land and not concentrate its energy on dealing with them while ignoring other violators across the nation.

“IPOB is a proscribed terrorist organisation in Nigeria and has been implicated in inciting and acts of violence against the state and other actors. The government has a legitimate interest in pursuing and arresting persons who are, or are suspected of being, involved with or supporting the group. In general, IPOB supporters or members who are fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence, including human rights violations, are not likely to be refugees.

“However, prosecution may amount to persecution if it involves victimisation in its application by the authorities. For example, if it is the vehicle or excuse for persecution or if only certain groups are prosecuted for a particular offence and the consequences of that discrimination are sufficiently severe. Punishment which is cruel, inhuman or degrading (including punishment which is out of all proportion to the offence committed) may also amount to persecution (see the section on prosecution in the Asylum Instruction on Assessing credibility and refugee status).

“Where a person is able to demonstrate that because of their links to IPOB they are likely to face prosecution or punishment which is disproportionate to the crime committed or discriminatory; or faces detention in degrading or inhuman conditions or torture then such treatment is likely to amount to persecution (see country policy and information note, Actors of protection and Country Background Note for more information about the criminal justice system, including detention conditions).

“Each case will need to be carefully considered on its facts, taking into account the individual’s behaviour and actions, previous state interest and conduct of family members,” it stated.

Recall that up to now IPOB leader, “Nnamdi Kanu” is currently detained for alleged terrorism in a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The United Kingdom’s Home Office, responsible for immigration and security, had on March 2021, considered granting asylum and other protections to members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The Home Office stated that the said groups were claiming, “fear of persecution and/or serious harm by state actors because the person is a member of or perceived to belong to a Biafran separatist group.”

But the federal government had termed the UK’s plans at the time as “ sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.’’

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