Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, has disclosed that some Nigerians caught in the Ukraine invasion by Russia do not want to return to the country.
Onyema disclosed this in a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday.
The Minister also stated that the Federal Government could start evacuation of Nigerian citizens, who have been able to find refuge in neighbouring countries, from Wednesday.
He said, “We hope to start evacuation hopefully Wednesday although some do not want to come back. We are doing everything possible to ensure that come Wednesday we will dispatch planes for evaluation.”
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Nigerians, especially students have travelled many kilometres across Ukraine to find refuge in neighbouring countries like Poland, Hungary, and Romania.
The Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine had told its citizens to take responsibility for their safety and remain security conscious, only to reverse its stand by providing a safe corridor for Nigerians who could escape.
According to a statement signed by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the embassy in Romania had received 130 Nigerians, adding that it had also provided accommodation for them while arrangements are being made for their safe return back home.
“Also, officials at Budapest, Hungary have received and accommodated 74 Nigerians safely, where they are being documented for subsequent travel arrangements back to Nigeria,” the statement read.
During the meeting, Onyema told the Speaker that Nigerians who were taking refuge in the neighbouring countries were being taken care of with feeding and accommodation pending their evacuation.
However, Gbajabiamila called for the immediate evacuation of Nigerians trapped in Ukraine, stating that a day was long enough for “our brothers and sisters who are caught up in this crisis”.