The United Kingdom has said all asylum and human rights applicants from Nigerians are considered on their individual merits in accordance with its international obligations.
The British High Commission in Nigeria said this in a statement on Wednesday in response to a newspaper enquiry over the opposition by the Federal Government for the UK government to grant asylum status to members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The UK Visas and Immigration had released new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications to IPOB members whose founder, Nnamdi Kanu, holds both Nigerian and British passports.
But Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, stated that the Federal Government opposes such offer from the British government, saying that it amounted to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security.
However, in response to questions asked by the Punch on the Federal Government’s position, the British High Commission said the UK has a proud history of providing protection who apply and geninuely need it.
It noted that all asylum applications are treated in accordance with its international obligations, adding that its decisions on the matter can always be appealed against at immigration courts.
The statement read: “The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights.
“Our country policy and information notes are published on the gov.uk website. They are kept under constant review and updated periodically – an update to the Biafra separatist note is expected shortly. We publish them since our decisions can be appealed in the immigration courts, which are public, so it is clearer and fairer for all involved (applicants, their lawyers, judges, stakeholders such as the UNHCR) to know what our position and evidence base is.
“All asylum and human rights claims from Nigerian nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations.”