The British government has replied the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government after it kicked against the granting of asylum to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The British High Commission stated on Wednesday that all asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals will be considered on their individual merits in accordance with its international obligations.
The commission added 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 UK government had unveiled plans to grant asylum to persecuted members of IPOB and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
But in a swift reaction, Nigeria’s Minister for Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said if indeed the UK government has such plans for IPOB and MASSOB members, then something is wrong somewhere, adding that it will be sabotage against Nigeria’s fight against terrorism.
The minister stated that the UK government was undermining security in Nigeria by its actions.
“Let me say straightaway that this issue is within the purview of the honourable minister of foreign affairs and I am sure he will handle it appropriately.”
“But as the spokesman for the federal government of Nigeria, I will say that if indeed the report that the UK will grant asylum to supposedly persecuted IPOB and MASSOB members is true, then something is wrong somewhere.
“Against the background of the fact that IPOB is not only proscribed but also designated as a terrorist organisation here in Nigeria, the UK’s decision is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.”
An enquiry sent by The Punch to the high commission read: “Following the release of the Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups, in March by the UKVI, the Nigerian Government has declared this as an act of sabotage. It also accused the UK of supporting terrorism. What’s the reaction of the high commission to these weighty allegations?”
Responding, the British High Commission maintained that the UK had a proud history of providing protection to those who needed it.
The emailed statement read,”The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights.
“Our country policy and information notes are published on the gov.uk website. They are kept under constant review and updated periodically – an update to the Biafra separatist note is expected shortly. We publish them since our decisions can be appealed in the immigration courts, which are public, so it is clearer and fairer for all involved (applicants, their lawyers, judges, stakeholders such as the UNHCR) to know what our position and evidence base is.
“All asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations.”