UK brands IPOB terrorist organisation, no more asylum for members

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The United Kingdom government has finally branded Nigeria’s Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation, five years after Nigeria did so.

UK’s U-turn followed a series of atrocities committed by the group. It says members of the group should be excluded from its asylum programme.

Among the atrocities listed by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) was the invasion of an All Progressives Congress (APC) meeting in Enugu state where a party chieftain was killed.

Another was the attack on an Imo Police Station where an officer was killed.

Also listed were the killing of Anambra residents during enforcement of ”sit-at-home” order; killing of some policemen en route to Anambra International Airport.

Not listed was the beheading of an army couple going home for a traditional wedding.

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“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 latest 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.

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