The British government has banned members of the Indigenous Poeple of Biafra (Ipob), the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and all its affiliates seeking asylum in their country.
Their decision is based on the 1951 Refugee Convention, which prohibits anyone who violates basic human rights.
In a statement issued by the British government, they explained that the Nigerian government had named Ipob and its Eastern Security Network (ESN) as terrorists.
They said the groups had fought several times against Nigeria’s independence.
They also described MASSOB as a banned group by the Nigerian government but did not label them as terrorists like IPOB and said they had fought against the Nigerian government several times.
As a result, they said:
“Anyone associated with the Ipob, the massob or any other group that wants independence in Biafra has a relationship that has caused chaos and that the person will not receive the so-called ‘asylum’ protection in their country.
2.2.1 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 (see Indigenous People of ‘Biafra’ (IPOB) and various media articles in Activities and Clashes between state and IPOB)
2.2.2 MASSOB has been banned, but is not a proscribed terrorist group in Nigeria. It too has reportedly been involved in violent clashes with the authorities (see Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of ‘Biafra’).
2.2.3 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.
2.2.4 If the person is excluded from the Refugee Convention, they will also be excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection.
2.2.5 For further guidance on the exclusion clauses and restricted leave, see the Asylum Instructions on Exclusion under Articles 1F and 33(2) of the Refugee Convention, Humanitarian Protection and Restricted Leave.