The British government has removed a notification it issued about its asylum policy for pro-Biafra groups such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of Biafra (MAB) (MASSOB).
The British government said in an email to Radio Now signed by Hannah Dawson, senior communications officer-Newsdesk at the Home Office, that the strategy is being revised and will be uploaded once it is complete.
“The out-of-date note on Biafra rebels has been removed for review; an update is due shortly,” the statement says.
The UK government did not specify when the new policy would be made available on their website.
The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) recently issued new guidance to its decision-makers on how to consider and approve asylum applications from representatives of Biafran secessionist parties.
Both are advocating for the independence of Nigeria’s south-east, as well as many other ethnic nationalities.
The UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision-makers in the earlier released ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups’ to consider whether an individual “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, as well as ill-treatment that is likely to lead to persecution.”
The decision-makers must follow the guidelines “It is also necessary to understand whether the [Nigerian] government’s activities are acts of prosecution rather than persecution. Refugees are not typically those fleeing prosecution or imprisonment for a criminal offence. However, if the prosecution requires victimisation in its application by the government, it can lead to persecution “..
According to the UKVI, one example of persecution is “whether it is used as a vehicle or an excuse for, or if only certain groups are punished for, a specific offence, and the effects of that discrimination are serious enough. Cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment (including punishment that is out of all proportion to the offence committed) can also constitute persecution “..
They are also to “consider each case on its facts to determine if the person is likely to be of interest to the [Nigerian] government and whether this is for the legitimate grounds of prosecution which is proportionate and non-discriminatory”.