The Nigerian government has condemned the decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, called it a disrespect to Nigeria, sabotage on the fight against terrorism and an undermining of Nigeria’s security.
The official spoke a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) interview program, NANForum, on Tuesday.
Mohammed said the issue is within the purview of the Foreign Affairs Minister whom he believes will handle it 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.
Mohammed cited the heightened attacks against security agencies in the South East Zone.
The minister said IPOB had been indicted as being the masterminds.
Nigeria said for the UK to choose this time to give succour to IPOB beggars belief and calls to question the UK’s real intention.
“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,’’ he said.
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) released new guidelines to its decision-makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications by members of Biafran secessionist groups.
Asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members IPOB and MASSOB.