The Federal Government on Tuesday expressed anger over a plan by the United Kingdom to offer asylum to “persecuted” members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said the plan was disrespectful to Nigeria as a nation.
Mohammed stated this as there were indications on Tuesday that the Federal Government might summon the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, over the asylum offer.
But socio-political groups including the Middle Belt Forum, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, supported the asylum offer by the UK and berated the Federal Government over the development.
The UK Visas and Immigration issued new guidelines to its decision makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications of members of Biafran secessionist groups in Nigeria.
In the guidelines published on assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government, it stated that the asylum would be granted to “persecuted” members of IPOB and MASSOB.
The Federal Government a few years ago designated IPOB, which was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, as a terrorist organisation. MASSOB was founded in 1999 by Ralph Uwazuruike.
The two groups are calling for the secession of the Igbo in the South-East and many other ethnic nationalities in the South-South from Nigeria.