The Nigerian government has described as disrespectful the decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra who seek such over alleged persecution.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, also said such a move would sabotage Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and undermine its security during a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) interview programme, NANForum, on Tuesday.
He, however, said the matter is under the purview of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, whom he said was competent to handle the issue appropriately.
“As the spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, I will say that if indeed the report that the UK will grant asylum to supposedly persecuted IPOB and MASSOB members is true, then something is wrong somewhere.
“Against the background of the fact that IPOB is not only proscribed but also designated as a terrorist organisation here in Nigeria, the UK’s decision is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.
“The decision amounts to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security. It is not only unconscionable, it is inexplicable,’’ he said.
Citing the recent attacks on police stations, police personnel and prisons in the South-East, Mohammed said IPOB had been found to be responsible for the violence.
He continued, “If we could go down the memory lane, what the UK has done is like Nigeria offering asylum to members of the IRA before the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement.”
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had released new guidelines on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups.