The British High Commission in Nigeria has said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the United Kingdom.
The High Commission made the clarification in a statement issued to debunk reports that that the UK government has recognised IPOB as a terrorist group.
“We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law. These reports are untrue.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK,” the High Commission said.
The statement noted that the misconception resulted from a publication by the UK of a Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on separatist groups in South-Eastern Nigeria, including IPOB.
The publication provided information on the countries of origin for these groups to be analysed for use by the UK Government as they are relevant in handling cases of protection and human rights claims.
“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account, relevant background country information and case law,” the statement said.
The statement added that the CPIN provided a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to separatist groups, including IPOB, based on the available country information.
The statement further explained that the CPIN recognised that the Nigerian government had proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, and some of its members who have committed human rights crimes may not be granted protection.
“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public, and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.”
It was widely reported on Friday that the UK government has recognised IPOB as a terrorist group, following the proscription of the group by the Nigerian government.