The United Kingdom, UK, has said that all asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals are considered on their individual merits, in accordance with its international obligations, Page 36 learnt.
The UK through the British High Commission in Nigeria, stated this on Wednesday, in response to inquiries on the President Muhammadu Buhari Federal Government’s allegation that the UK’s asylum offer to persecuted members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, undermines Nigeria’s security.
Recall, that the UK Visa and Immigration, UKVI, had released new Guidelines to its decision makers, on how to consider and grant asylum applications to IPOB members whose Founder, Nnamdi Kanu, is operating from London.
In the Guidelines titled: ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran Secessionist Groups’, released in March, the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision makers to consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB, is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment, which is likely to amount to persecution”.
It further said that the UK must also consider if the arrest and prosecution of IPOB members for clamouring for the break-up of the country, are acts of prosecution, and not persecution.
Reacting however, the Federal Government frowned at the UK Immigration Guidelines for persecuted IPOB members, describing it as support for terrorism in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who declared that the decision was disrespectful, noted that it amounts to sabotaging the fight against terrorism, and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.
Responding nonetheless, to the allegations by the Federal Government, the British High Commission in an apparent rebuff, said that the UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it.
The new statement from the UK reads: “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.
“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.”
More news later…