Okwe, NIGERIA: Lucia Ihim carries her nine-month-old sibbling Chidera Ihim, wearing Biafran colors, 19 August 2005 during a rally by the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra in Okwe in southeastern Nigeria. More than three decades after the breakaway "Republic of Biafra" suffered a bloody defeat at the hands of federal forces, rebellious shoppers are once again spending Biafran pounds and shillings in the markets of southeastern Nigeria. In the latest sign of the centrifugal forces threatening to tear Africa's largest oil exporter apart, ethnic Igbo rebel leaders have reintroduced the bills, which are identical to those minted during Biafra's doomed three-year struggle for independence. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)


The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has reacted to the decision of the United Kingdom to grant persecuted members of the group asylum, noting that while it appreciates the gesture, it is only interested in referendum.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) had in its newly released guidelines, said asylum is to be granted to “persecuted” members of the proscribed IPOB and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

The Nigerian government immediately kicked against the policy, arguing that the the plan by the UK to grant the group asylum undermines Nigeria’s security.

However, in a statement issued on Tuesday by its spokesman, Comrade Emma Powerful, IPOB insisted that all it wants is to have referendum, even as he alleged that Nigerian is governed by terrorist sympathizers.

“We the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great and indomitable leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has noted with satisfaction the news that the United Kingdom has agreed to grant asylum to persecuted Biafra agitators resident in the UK,” he said.

“While we commend them for this bold initiative, we wish to most graciously remind them that what we Biafrans need and cherish the most is referendum and not asylum in the UK.

“We are tired of living in bondage in the devilish contraption called Nigeria they single-handedly created.

“We would not wish our children, now and generations unborn, to share the same geo-political space with those that reward terrorists and criminalize law abiding citizens.

“We particularly thank the UK government for confirming what the rest of the civilized world already know that the great IPOB worldwide family are not terrorists but peaceful agitators and freedom fighters.

“That Nigeria is a country run by terrorists for the benefit of terrorists has been confirmed by this noble move by the United Kingdom.

“Aso Rock, the seat of power in Nigeria is a terrorist haven with serving ministers who are openly sympathetic to terrorists and their activities coming and going as they please, while freedom fighters are languishing in jail. We want freedom not asylum.”



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