The UK government has not proscribed IPOB – the Indigenous People of Biafra – an official said yesterday in Abuja.

An embassy spokesperson described as “inaccurate” reports that the UK government designated IPOB as a terrorist group

The report quoted a UK Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on separatist groups in Southeast Nigeria.

The spokesperson, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, explained that CIPN relies on publicly available information to assess risks faced by asylum seekers.

The information could come from “UK and other governments, local, national and international organisations, and non-government organisations,” she said.

Thus, CIPN observed that Nigeria proscribed IPOB and further accused its members of using violence to press its case. 

CIPN therefore advised closer scrutiny of asylum applicants to weed out those who may have participated in violent activities.

The Statement

Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, signed the statement reproduced below:

“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 inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COl) and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types 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 CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra, provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national and international organisations; and non-government organisations.

“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.”

Cover Photo: Ms Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria