The Federal Government would start evacuating Nigerians from Ukraine tomorrow, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said at a meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, in Abuja yesterday.
According to him, over 2,000 people were ready to be evacuated noting that the exercise earlier scheduled to commence yesterday was rescheduled to enable the ministry and the Nigerian missions in Ukraine, Poland and Russia complete formalities of moving Nigerians from the troubled country to safe borders with neighbouring countries.
“Where we are now is the point of ascertaining the exact number we are dealing with and to agree on the location for the evaluation. We are thinking Bucharest; but all of this is being sorted out and we are constantly working to ensure that everything goes on very smoothly.”
The Minister made it known that the delay was not because government was not ready or did not know what to do.
“I was in touch with our ambassador early enough and he assured us that there was no need for evacuation. The students even said there was no problem at all. Also, the Ukrainian government did not want people to leave, and especially because most of our people are students, who will not be able to go back to Ukraine again, should they leave”, Onyeama stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Embassies in Poland, Romania and Hungary have received over 256 stranded Nigerians from Ukraine, while awaiting the arrival of over 200 in the coming days.
Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, disclosed this yesterday.
“In the last 24 hours, officials of the Nigerian Embassy received 130 Nigerians safely at Bucharest, Romania, where they had been provided accommodation and would be documented, while we finalise arrangements to bring them back home. Also, officials at Budapest, Hungary, had received and accommodated 74 Nigerians safely, where they are being documented for subsequent travel arrangements back to Nigeria. We are expecting another batch of about 200 in the city of Budapest, tomorrow, Monday.
In Warsaw, Poland, 52 Nigerians and 23 others were being processed at the Polish government’s reception point at Hala Kijowska.
“Milny 90, 37-552 Milny, which is near the border of Korczowa-Krakowiec, is a camp that is well organised with beds and beddings, food, heating, clothing and medicals for evacuees.
“We assure Nigerians that all hands are on deck and arrangements are being put in place to effectively evacuate our citizens, in safety and dignity,” he stated.