The Nigerian government has condemned the decision of the United Kingdom to grant asylum to alleged persecuted members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the 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 government official spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview program 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 organization here in Nigeria, the UK’s decision is disrespectful to Nigeria as a nation.
“The decision amounts to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security. It is not only unconscionable, but it is also inexplicable,’’ he said.
Mohammed further recalled the heightened attacks against security agencies in the South East Zone, alleging that IPOB had been indicted as masterminds.
Nigeria said for the UK to choose this time to give succor to IPOB calls to question its real intentions.
“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.