The United Kingdom has listed its conditions for granting asylum to members of secessionist groups, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI), a division of the Home Office, has said it will only grant asylum to persecuted members of the groups, adding that such members must demonstrate that demonstrate that they will be “at risk of persecution or serious harm” in Nigeria.
The UKVI, in its recently released ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups’, said its decision makers should consider if a person “who actively and openly supports IPOB is likely to be at risk of arrest and detention, and ill-treatment which is likely to amount to persecution”.
It however said that those fleeing prosecution or punishment for a criminal offence will not be considered.
It said the decision makers must also consider each case on its facts, taking into account: profile, size, and organisation of the group/organisation to which the person belongs and its activities; whether a person in the UK would wish to continue their activism if returned to Nigeria (if not, why not); whether the group/organisation has a presence in Nigeria as well as outside of the country and any evidence that it is being monitored by the government.
It also said a person’s profile and political activities (including those online) and relevant documentary or other evidence; profile and activities of family members; and past treatment should be considered.
“However, where the government has arrested and detained persons who, for example, peacefully participate in demonstrations and has then charged them with treason or the person is subjected to periods of detention in degrading or inhuman conditions, such treatment is unlikely to be fair or proportionate, and is likely to amount to persecution,” the guidelines noted.