The Federal Government has given assurances that over 4,000 stranded Nigerians in the eastern European country which descended into war last week with an invasion by its neighbour, Russia, would be safely evacuated on Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.
The Nigerian government had asked its nationals in Ukraine “to remain calm, but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety.”
The government asked Nigerians seeking safety to move to Hungarian or Romanian borders. Hungary and Romania approved visa free access to all Nigerians coming from Ukraine.
“For now, movements to the Hungarian Zahony border and Romanian Suceava, Tulcea, Satu Mare County, and Maramures borders is advised, as they have approved visa free access to all Nigerians coming from Ukraine”, a statement by Gabriel Aduda, permanent secretary of the Foreign Affairs ministry, read.
Speaking on Monday at a meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, assured of safe returns of Nigerians in Ukraine.
He said his ministry had arranged with the Management of an indigenous airline- Air Peace, to evacuate Nigerians, who have crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border on Wednesday March 2, 2002.
The Speaker had invited Onyeama, with a view to assessing government preparedness and response mechanism being put in place in response to the crisis in Ukraine, especially as it affects Nigerians in the country.
Onyeama also said there was a high-level engagement of the Nigerian government with the Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine on the matter, with evacuation expected to commence on Wednesday, adding that there were 5,600 Nigerian students and about 8,000 other Nigerian citizens living in the troubled nation.
While stating that some Nigerians had successfully crossed borders to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, the minister said he had secured approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to evacuate the stranded citizens, even as he stressed that some of them were, however, not willing to leave the country.
Speaking at the meeting, Gbajabiamila noted that the House was deeply worried over the crisis, and its escalation, urging speedy evacuation of stranded Nigerians.
He said many Nigerians did not believe Russia would invade Ukraine until the crisis erupted.
Gbajabiamila said the House was ready to approve any supplementary budget, the executive may send to the parliament, if need be, to cater for such emergencies.
The lawmaker further called for a closer working relationship between the ministry’s officials and the House to ensure safety of Nigerians living abroad.