The agitation for the recognition for an independent Biafra state took a disappointing dip as the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) revealed 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 (MASSSOB) had insisted a fortnight ago that the Biafran passport was valid all over the world except Nigeria and urged its supposed citizens to use it to secure visa for international travel.
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?”
The Punch however reports that an inquiry into the claim made by MASSOB at the American consulate in Lagos revealed that the Biafran passport was not recognized.
Frank Sellin, 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.”
Mr. Joe Abuku who is the press and public affairs officer at the British high commission in Abuja said 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.”
Meanwhile, the federal government insisted that it does not recognise the Biafran passport as the supposed independent country does not exist as the region is still part of Nigeria.