Nigerian students who are in Ukraine are currently stranded as Russia continues to attack the eastern Ukraine
The National Association of Nigerian Students in Ukraine sent out a Save Our Soul message to the President Buhari seeking immediate evacuation from Ukraine.
The Acting-President of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Ukraine, Eunice Eleaka, pleaded with the Federal Government to come to their aid.
In a letter to the President titled, ‘Matter of Urgency. Letter of Request to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari’ on Thursday, the students said cities occupied by Nigerians were under attack.
The letter read in part, “Greetings your Excellency. We are the executive body of National Association of Nigerian Students Ukraine (NANS-UKRAINE).
“We write to you with regards to the current Russia-Ukraine conflict which has finally risen to its maximum early this morning being February 24, 2022 as gunshots and explosives have raided the territories occupied by the Nigerian citizens.
“We plead with your Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to please send for an immediate evacuation of the Nigerian students currently in Ukraine. We can only trust and wait on our great nation (Giant of Africa) in this perilous time.
“It would be of great honour, if our request is deliberately considered and met with urgency as it calls for. Forever this kind and fatherly gesture would be engraved in our hearts. Thank you so much in anticipation Mr President.”
She called on Nigeria to come up with a proper evacuation strategy like India.
Eleaka said, “I left before the invasion. The news on possible invasion has been out there for a while now. My parents got really worried and got me a flight ticket to return home.
“I’m sure most students really wanted to leave too, but the flight tickets got really expensive and the need to leave then seemed impromptu. I heard some cities still had their classes offline but we were ensuring every school goes online.
“But all the same, I feel the most cogent reason for everyone is the flight ticket price.”
Specifically, she said the Indian embassy has set up two different camps to evacuate Nigerians who are stranded in Ukraine.
Eunice said, “The Embassy of India in Poland has set up a camp office in Krakowiec on the Polish-Ukraine border. This office will facilitate transit via Poland back to India of Indian nationals stranded in Ukraine. They gave out telephone numbers of the officials in charge.”
Earlier, on Thursday, the Federal Government expressed shock over the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The government also assured Nigerians living in Ukraine of their safety, stating that measures are underway to evacuate Nigerians living in the country.
In a statement by the Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli the Federal government said as soon as the airport it would assist Nigerians who are willing to leave to do so.
The statement was titled, ‘Federal government reassures its commitment to the safety of Nigerians in Ukraine’.
It read, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has received with surprise, reports of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been reassured by the Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine of the safety of Nigerians in that country and measures being undertaken to keep them safe and facilitate the evacuation of those who wish to leave.
“The Federal Government wishes to assure the families with loved ones in Ukraine that as soon as the airports in the country are opened, it would assist in facilitating the evacuation of Nigerians who are willing to leave.”
Although the Federal Government promised to evacuate the students once the airports re-open, it remains unclear how long the airports would remain closed.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in an interview with NTA, said the Nigerian embassy in Kiev had been contacted to finalise the arrangements for those willing to return to the country.
He said, “The Federal Government of Nigeria has arranged for a special flight operation to evacuate our citizens from Ukraine in view of the escalating tension between that country and Russia.
“The Nigerian embassy in Kiev has been contacted to arrange for those wishing to return home from other areas including Donestk and Luhensk.
However, it was learnt that some students had begun making their way to the Poland with a view to getting a flight from there.
CNN reported on Thursday that while other governments are making plans to evacuate their citizens from Ukraine, Nigerian students said they had been essentially told: “You’re on your own.”
Also, the Nigerian embassy in Ukraine urged Nigerians in the country to remain calm.
The embassy advised Nigerians residing in the country to be vigilant and responsible for their safety.
These were contained in a statement by the Embassy dated February 24.
It was titled, “New travel advice by the embassy of Nigeria, Ukraine”
The statement read, “In view of this development, the embassy urges Nigerian nationals resident in Ukraine to remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their Personal security and safety.
“The embassy wishes to add that should any of Nigerian nationals consider the situation as emotionally disturbing, such nationals may wish to temporary relocate to anywhere considered safe by private arrangements.
“They should, however, ensure that they do all the necessary work to validate all their resident documents for ease of return to the country when desired.
The Embassy also enjoined students who wish to leave the country to seek proper clearance from their institutions.