IPOB/MASSOB asylum: Why UK offers asylum for IPOB/MASSOB members

The United Kingdom has said it considers all appeals for asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals based on their individual merits in accordance with its international obligations.

The PUNCH reports the British government to have stated that it has 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 statement was in response to an inquiry by The PUNCH on the Federal Government’s allegations that the UK’s asylum offer for persecuted members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra undermined Nigeria’s security.

The UK Visas and Immigration had released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications to IPOB members whose founder, Nnamdi Kanu, is operating from London.

In the guidelines titled, ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups,’ released in March, the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, 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.’’

It further said the UK must also consider if the arrest and prosecution of IPOB members for clamouring for the break-up of the country were acts of prosecution, not persecution.

“Those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence are not normally refugees. Prosecution may, however, amount to persecution if it involves victimisation in its application by the authorities,’’ the 56-page document noted.

The British High Commission in an email stated that, “All asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations.”

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