Nigerian Government has hinted at possibilities of evacuating its citizens who are stranded in Ukraine starting from Wednesday.
Gatekeepers News reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama gave the hint on Monday when he met with the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The move became necessary after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, February 24, 2022, launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II. Many people, including children, soldiers and civilians, have lost their lives since the attack as numbers continue to rise.
According to the Nigerian Minister, there are about 8,000 Nigerians in Ukraine and some of them have been received at the Nigerian embassy in Ukraine’s neighbouring nations.
Gatekeepers News earlier reported that 204 Nigerians have been received by officials in Romania and Hungary.
Onyeama noted that Nigeria has concluded plans to begin the evacuation of the citizens who have crossed into other countries.
He assured that planes would be dispatched to those countries to begin the evacuation of Nigerians.
“We hope to start evacuation hopefully Wednesday… We are doing everything possible to ensure that come Wednesday, we will dispatch planes for evaluation,” the Minister said.
Onyeama stated that: “Romania is going to be the hub and there are about 1,000 already estimating to pick up from Romania. Then you have Slovakia, about 200; Poland was about 250, and Hungary the same figure. About 150 want to go through Russia, which are our students that we have advised our ambassador to get permit for.
“So, essentially, that’s where we are as at today — moving into that next phase of getting these people.
According to the Minister, some Nigerians in Ukraine are not ready to leave the country despite the ongoing crisis.
“Of course, some of them don’t want to come back to the country, but the point is also that we’ve given a commitment to these transit countries that have given us timelines for the refugees to stay in their countries. So, we also must ensure that within that timeline, they come back.”