The agitation for the recognition for an independent Biafra state took a disappointing dip as the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) confirmed that they do not accept the “Biafran passport” because the supposed independent country is not recognised.
The Movement for the Actualisation of a Sovereign State Of Biafra (MASSOB) had insisted that such a document has validity all over the world, except Nigeria, and urged its supposed citizens to use it to secure visa for international travel.
The MASSOB through Sunny Okereafor, the national director of information, explained that the travel document costs N5,000, while its renewal costs N2,000.
“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?”
An inquiry into the claim made by the MASSOB at the US consulate in Lagos revealed that the Biafran passport was not recognized.
The deputy public affairs officer at the consulate 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.”
The British high commission in Abuja came up with a similar reply. The diplomatic mission say the UK does not recognize the Biafran passport and as the country did not support the secession during the Civil War and thus its stance has not changed.
“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.”