Home News Russia-Ukraine war: 306 more Nigerians return home; stranded students cry for help

Russia-Ukraine war: 306 more Nigerians return home; stranded students cry for help

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Three hundred and six more Nigerians affected by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war arrived in the country from Budapest, Hungary on Sunday morning.

This makes it the fourth batch of evacuees to return home since the rescue operation began on Friday. And the total figure of Nigerian safety back home has risen to 1,081.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the last evacuees landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 12:35 am.

The stranded Nigerians were successfully evacuated following the intervention of the Federal Government with the cooperation of governments of countries neighbouring Ukraine.

Welcoming the returnees on behalf of the Federal Government, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency, Mr Mustapha Ahmed said that apart from the $100 allowance to each returnee, a one-night accommodation arrangement had been made for them to rest before continuing their journey to their homes, while those whose relatives had come for them were free to go home.

Meanwhile, the over 150 Nigerian students in Sumy, North-East Ukraine, have again cried out for help to get evacuated from the war zone.
Since the Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February, thousands of residents have fled the city, which is now without electricity following the military bombardment. Most  residents have resorted to bunkers for refuge.
The Nigerian students are largely at the Sumy State University (SumDU), Ukraine. Their best escape option is to fly through Russia, which is nearest compared to the distance to the Polish, Hungarian and Romanian borders.
But, according to the Nigerian government, Russia is yet to grant permission for their evacuation through its territory.
The students’ cry for help came through a viral video in which some of them screamed: ‘Let us go home. We want to go home. We have nothing to do with this war.’
One of the female students recalled: ‘Early this morning, we were woken up with six bombs. What did we do wrong? We just came to study Medicine. We haven’t showered in three days. There is no light in the hostel. There is nothing; everything is running out. This place is not safe.
‘Every single day, some of us have mental trauma. We can’t even hear doors closing without someone running. We have nothing to do with this war, this is not our country’.
Another student said the access route out of the city had been blocked, thereby preventing them from leaving.
‘For the past two weeks that this war has started, apparently, there has been a route to leave Sumy but the school has refused to provide us with buses, transportation to leave this place.
‘We know about almost 50 students that have left Sumy for Poltava. Now, they have decided to block that route. At this point, I don’t know what is going on. We are not going to be used as bait. Please let us go, let us go, we don’t want to be part of your war’, the student alleged.
“All we are asking is can we cease-fire and let the students of Sumy leave? We are calling on everybody to help get us out. We are many here, we are stranded. We appeal to you, please help us.”
The Nigerian government had approved $8.5 million for the evacuation of its citizens in Ukraine.
The evacuation process started on Wednesday and three batches had since arrived in the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama said that Nigeria had requested the immediate implementation of the country’s evacuation process for the students. This request, he said, was made to his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba.
Onyeama further said: ‘Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine indicated the procedure to follow in respect of the evacuation of Nigerian students in Sumy, which has been communicated to our Ambassador to Ukraine for action.
‘The Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine, Shina Alege reported on his follow up with the Ukrainian authorities. The Ukrainian government’s evacuation plan of students in Sumy was explained. We are calling for immediate implementation’.
The Minister also said he has spoken with Fehintola Moses Damilola, president of the Nigerian students union of SumDU, to brief him on the evacuation plan and ‘reassure him and his compatriots that the Nigerian government is doing everything possible for their safe and speedy evacuation’.
According to the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), the road linking Russia to Sumy had been damaged, making it near impossible for the stranded Nigerians to escape.
According to NIDCOM, Nigerian citizens in the war theatre are the major concern of the government after evacuating those in Romania, Hungary and Poland.

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