The government of the United Kingdom has recognised the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation and a group that uses violence to achieve its aims.
The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration office disclosed this in its May 2022 policy update.
UKVI clearly referred to IPOB whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu is currently in the custody of Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS) as a terrorist organisation to be excluded from its asylum programme for violent crimes in Nigeria’s South East.
“IPOB is proscribed as a terrorist group by the Nigerian government, and members of the group and its paramilitary wing – the Eastern Security Network (created in December 2020) – have reportedly committed human rights violations in Nigeria,” UKVI said in its policy notes.
“If a person has been involved with IPOB (and/or an affiliated group), MASSOB or any other ‘Biafran’ group that incites or uses violence to achieve its aims, decision makers must consider whether one (or more) of the exclusion clauses under the Refugee Convention is applicable.
“Persons who commit human rights violations must not be granted asylum.”
In 2017, the Nigerian government declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
In recent times, the proscribed group has been accused of perpetrating violent attacks in the South East in order to achieve its secession agenda but IPOB has repeatedly denied being behind the attacks.
Ivan Sheehan, an American academic who is the executive director of the school of public and international affairs at the University of Baltimore recently asked the United States government to designate the group as a terrorist organisation.
According to Sheehan, the establishment of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) by IPOB signalled the end of the group’s “pretenses of being a peaceful movement”.