Minister explains delay in evacuating Nigerians from war-torn Ukraine

Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, has stated the reason the federal government delayed evacuating nationals from war-torn Ukraine.

Onyeama said the government heeded to the opinion of Nigerian diplomats in Ukraine, who had said Russia invasion was an unlikely occurrence.

He stated this while appearing as a guest on Channels television programme, ‘Politics Today’.

The minister said the government would start evacuating its nationals, who have fled the war to keep safe in countrues neighbouring Ukraine, from Wednesday.

According to him, there are 8,000 Nigerians residing in Ukraine, 5,000 of who are students.

“We made Romania the hub and over a thousand Nigerians have crossed there. Poland has about 250, Budapest in Hungary has a similar number, Slovakia is rising rapidly. It is also around 200.

“There are some Nigerians in a place called Sumy close to the Russian border.

“I have been in touch with the ambassador. There are about 150 of them who are looking to cross into Russia and we have asked the ambassador in Russia to try and get a permit for them to transit to Russia and hopefully by Wednesday we will start deploying planes to start bringing the Nigerians,” the minister said.

The minister also said Nigerians living abroad should be able to return on their home when faced with crisis, adding that airlifting of nationals by governments is not a global practice.

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