The Federal Government says the reported decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is disrespectful to Nigeria as a nation.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said the decision amounted to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups. In the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members IPOB, a group that Nigeria had designated as a terrorist organisation.
Also in the guidelines, asylum is to be granted to the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra. Fielding questions at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) flagship interview programe, NANForum, yesterday in Abuja, Mohammed said the decision is unacceptable to Nigeria.
“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,” he said.