The UK has stated that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has not been designated as a terrorist organization.
The clarification comes after it was revealed that the United Kingdom attempted to ban IPOB members who had violated human rights from its refugee program.
“Nigeria welcomes the United Kingdom’s decision to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group,” presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said in a statement.
In a statement issued on Friday, 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 organisation, 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.”
‘Seize IPOB assets’
Mr Shehu demanded the UK to seize IPOB assets, shut down their communication networks, and prohibit the issuing of visas to IPOB’s funders in Nigeria in a statement released on Friday.
“Such sanctions have been important in the fight against other terror organisations.” “Make no mistake: Africa today is a breeding ground for terrorism, with local and international organizations equally gaining strength across the continent, living on the pandemic’s economic destruction,” Mr Shehu added.
“Against such groups as ISIS and Al Quaeda-affiliated Boko Haram, Nigeria’s intelligence and security personnel are the first lines of defense.” We rely on the backing of our Western allies.
“The reign of terror of the IPOB — and its 50,000-strong paramilitary organization – has seen communities massacred, school buses set ablaze, and politicians’ homes bombed. They threaten more violence if their demands are not satisfied, while stirring violence and religious and ethnic tensions between Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim populations through their international network of radio and television stations.
“Their mouthpieces and wallets are their most powerful instruments — Nigeria’s supporters must target these assets next.” And now is not the time to relax.”