From Stanley Uzoaru,Owerri and Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United Kingdom, yesterday, said the asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals were carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with its international obligations.
The UK stated this while replying the Federal Government over its planned decision to grant asylum to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in a statement had said the planned asylum for IPOB members by the United Kingdom was disrespectful and a sabotage to the fight against terrorism in the country.
Responding to Daily Sun’s enquiry, Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Abuja, Christopher Ogunmodede, said: “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 (ECHR).
“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.”
But, IPOB has rejected the asylum ‘gift’ insisting it is freedom it wanted for its people.
“We, the global family of IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu, have noted with satisfaction the news that the United Kingdom has agreed to grant asylum to persecuted Biafra agitators resident in the UK,” IPOB said.
Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful, in a statement, said the recognition by the UK government has vindicated the group that its members were after all not terrorists as labelled by the Federal Government.
“While we commend them for this bold initiative, we wish to most graciously remind them that what we, Biafrans need and cherish the most is referendum and not asylum in the UK.
“We are tired of living in bondage in the devilish contraption called Nigeria they single-handedly created. We would not wish our children, now and generations unborn to share the same geo-political space with those that reward terrorists and criminalise law abiding citizens.
“We particularly thank the UK government for confirming what the rest of the civilised world already know that the IPOB members are not terrorists but peaceful agitators and freedom fighters.”