The United Kingdom reaffirmed on Friday, May 6, that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a terrorist organisation.
The clarification comes after it was revealed that the United Kingdom attempted to ban IPOB members who had violated human rights from its refugee programme.
A statement signed by a presidential spokeswoman, Garba Shehu, had claimed that; “Nigeria welcomes the decision by the United Kingdom to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group.”
In a statement, the British High Commission in Abuja stated that this was not the case.
“We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media; and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law,” the statement said.
“These reports are untrue. The ‘Indigenous People of Biafra’ (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK.
“The inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria; including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COI); and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types of protection and human rights claims.
“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts; in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights; taking into account relevant background country information and case law.
“The CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources; including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national, and international organisations; and non-government organisations.
“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organization; some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public; and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.”
In his Friday statement, Mr Shehu asked the UK to confiscate IPOB assets, shut down their communication channels; and sanction the issuance of visas to IPOB’s founders in Nigeria.
“Such sanctions have played a critical role in combatting other terror groups. And make no mistake: today Africa is a breeding ground for terror, with local and international groups alike gaining strength across the continent, thriving on the economic devastation of the pandemic,” Mr Shehu said.