Nigeria’s proscribed organization, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been dissolved and de-registered as a legal company in the United Kingdom.
We understands that the separatist movement founded by its embattled leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was registered as a legal organization in the UK in 2014. A document sighted on SaharaReporters showed that IPOB was dissolved and de-registered on September 13, 2022, after warnings.
A notice purportedly sent to IPOB months before the action read: “The Registrar of Companies give notice that, unless cause is shown to the contrary, the company will be struck off and dissolved not less than 2 months from the date shown above. “Upon company’s dissolution, all property and rights vested or held in trust for the company are deemed to be bona vacantia, and will belong to the Crown.”
UK Government Barred IPOB From Asylum Programme
It could be recalled that the UK government earlier in the year, barred the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra and other Biafran groups from participating in its asylum programme.
The British government noted that IPOB had been proscribed as a terrorist group by the Nigerian government and that members of the group and its paramilitary wing – the Eastern Security Network – have reportedly committed human rights violations.
The UK, therefore, said that persons who commit human rights violations must not be granted asylum. Also, the UK Visas and Immigration in March 2021 released new guidelines to its decision-makers on how to consider and grant asylum applications to IPOB members.
In the guidelines titled, ‘Country Policy and Information Note Nigeria: Biafran secessionist groups,’ the UKVI, a division of the Home Office, directed its decision-makers to 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.’’
However, in its update published on its website on May 3, titled, ‘Country policy and information note: Separatist groups in the South-East, Nigeria,’ the UKVI said, “IPOB is proscribed as a terrorist group by the Nigerian government, and members of the group and its paramilitary wing – the Eastern Security Network (created in December 2020) – have reportedly committed human rights violations in Nigeria and various media articles.
“MASSOB has been banned but is not a proscribed terrorist group in Nigeria. It too has reportedly been involved in violent clashes with the authorities.”
British High Commission Denies Labeling IPOB Terrorist Sect
Subsequently, a statement released by the British High Commission in Abuja denied reports that IPOB was labelled 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 organizations banned under UK law,” the statement had read. It added:
“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 (COI) 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 (IPOB), 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.”nous People Of Biafra Organisation.”
We reported that Kanu has been in detention since June 2021 following his arrest and repatriation to Nigeria. The separatist was in an extraordinarily renditioned brought to Nigeria from Kenya.