The United States and the United Kingdom have said they do not recognise the passports being issued by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
This comes as Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed Friday for ruling on a bail application filed by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra and founder of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and two others with respect to the charges of treason preferred against him by the Federal Government.
Justice Tsoho adjourned for ruling after both the defence and the prosecution made counter submissions on the bail application on Monday.
The judge had on January 20 shortly after Kanu was arraigned along with two others – Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi – ordered the Department of State Service to release the accused persons for remand in Kuje Prison.
Kanu was until January 20 in the custody of the DSS since he was arrested in a Lagos hotel on October 14, 2015 with respect to his agitation and radio broadcast for the secession of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.
The National Director of Information, MASSOB, Sunny Okereafor, had said two weeks ago that the passport was valid worldwide, adding that the travel document costs N5,000 while its renewal costs N2,000
He had said, “I assure you that the Biafran passport is valid. Except Nigeria, other countries of the world accept Biafran passport and allow our citizens to travel with it. In Europe, North and South America, Biafran passport is accepted. Nigeria is the only country that seizes Biafran passport. Go to neighbouring Ghana here, they will stamp the passport for you. Don’t be confused by the propaganda of the Nigerian government that there is nothing like Biafra passport.
“MASSOB appeals to Biafran citizens to procure their passport and use it to travel. If you doubt me, get a Nigerian passport while I have my Biafran passport; when we get to Europe, you will see who they will welcome than the other. Many people with the Nigerian passport have been repatriated, but have you heard of anybody with Biafran passport receiving such ill-treatment?”
However, our correspondent sent an email to the American consulate in Lagos to inquire from the US regarding the claim of MASSOB.
In his response, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer at the consulate, Frank Sellin, said, “The United States does not consider passports purporting to be from a Biafra entity to be a valid legal document for purposes of visa issuance.”
A similar response from the British Government was sent to The PUNCH via email.
The UK recalled that it did not support the disintegration of Nigeria during the 1967 Biafran War and had not changed its stance 49 years after.
A statement by the Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Abuja, Mr. Joe Abuku, read in part, “The answer is unequivocally ‘no’. The UK does not recognise the so-called Biafran passport
“The position of the UK Government during the Biafran War is a matter of historical record. The UK Government’s position, which reflected the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, was to recognise the borders laid down at independence.
“The Biafran War caused great suffering and the UK supported the reconciliation work that followed the conflict. The UK supports the territorial integrity of Nigeria and the Nigerian Government’s commitment to work for a secure and prosperous Nigeria for all Nigerians.”
Deploring the illegal practice of issuing dud Biafran Passport, Barrister Obunike Ohaegbu told Elombah.com: “You collect naira from your brothers and give them a worthless piece of paper in the name of International Passport…why would people be this callous and mean? I hope Police would arrest the perpetrators of this crime and charge them for fraud.”
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