The United Kingdom government has finally accepted Nigeria’s classification of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization.
Federal government had in 2017 designated IPOB a terrorist following widespread of lawlessness.
However, some foreign countries, including UK, which IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, holds its passport, did not acknowledge the declaration at the time.
Four days after the outlawed group beheaded an army couple, who were on their way to Imo State for their traditional wedding, UK acknowledged IPOB as a terrorist organization, directing that it should be excluded from its asylum programme.
Although the killing, which sparked nationwide outrage, was not among the atrocities of the Nnamdi Kanu-led terror group the UK listed in its policy review document, the action was taken a few days after the murder.
The acts of the terrorist group listed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), a division of the British Home Office, were the invasion of an All Progressives Congress (APC) meeting in Enugu state where a party chieftain was killed; attack on an Imo Police Station where an officer was killed; killing of Anambra residents during enforcement of ”sit-at-home” order; killing of some policemen en route to Anambra International Airport, among others.
But in a fresh update published on its website three days ago, UKVI made a U-turn.
” 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.
” 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.
“Persons who commit human rights violations must not be granted asylum.”
The policy directed that decision makers must also check if there has been a previous application for a UK visa or another form of leave, noting that asylum applications matched to visas should be investigated before the asylum interview.