The British Government has reportedly withdrawn its asylum policy to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualization of Biafra (MASSOB), and other groups.
The British High Commission had on Wednesday said that all asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals will be considered on their individual merits in accordance with its international obligations.
The commission added that it has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with its international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights.
But in a swift reaction, Nigeria’s Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, said if indeed the UK government has such plans for IPOB and MASSOB members, it is totally wrong.
The minister described the decision as disrespectful, inexplicable, and a move that would sabotage Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and undermine its security.
In a counter-reaction, the British High Commission maintained that the UK had a proud history of providing protection to those who needed it.
Also, IPOB has rejected the reported plans by the UK government to offer ‘persecuted’ members asylum.
In a statement by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB said what the group needs is not asylum but a referendum that will lead to freedom from Nigeria.
The group however commended the reported move by the UK government but said it is better to get a referendum and become independent than to abandon their agitation and flee to the UK.
But in an email sent to Radio Now and signed by Hannah Dawson, Senior Communications Officer-Newsdesk at the Home office, the British government said the policy is being reviewed and will be uploaded once it is ready.
The UK government did not, however, give a time frame as to when the updated policy will be uploaded to their website.