Russian/Ukraine faceoff: Fear grips parents of Nigerian students, citizens
Posted by News Express | 24 February 2022 | 1,145 times
•Nigerians in Diaspora Commission chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa
By APATA OYENIRAN, Lagos
A concerned Nigerian parent whose child is studying in the United States of America has expressed her child’s concern over the safety of his friends and others in academic institutions in Ukraine.
She wrote: “Let us pray for Ukraine and the people not directly concerned in the feud going on there.
“Do we have any information about Nigerians there? My son woke me with a text asking for prayers that many of his friends are in Kyiv.
The concerned parent added, “Airports are being bombed. I can’t imagine what their parents are going through. Where is the Nigerian government on this?
Do they have information on what is going on?
Information from sources with contacts in Ukraine said many students and Nigerians resident in the country facing aggression from the Russian federation have cried for help from the Nigerian government.
“We do not know what is happening, we see other nations organising flights for their people.”
An agency report said Nigerian students numbering about 4,000 in Ukraine say they are confused and feel abandoned by their country amidst the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine.
It would be recalled that the Russian forces launched attacks on major Ukrainian cities Thursday morning in what President Vladimir Putin described as a “special military operation.”
The report said a Nigerian student at Lviv National Medical University, Ukraine, Anjola Philips told newsmen that although the Nigerian embassy was ‘responsive’, students had no information on what to do should a full-blown war ensue.
“We do not know what is happening, we see other nations organising flights for their people. I think it will be good to know if we have a place of convergence, we have no idea and people are asking if they should start returning home.
“The embassy is responsive anytime we reach out to them but it is the same response every time, which leaves me wondering if there are no plans for the worst-case scenario,” Mr Philips, the president of the Nigerian students union in Lviv, said.
He noted that the situation on the ground is one of great uncertainty. “No one knows what is our fate as Nigerian students here. We just get things online and we try to feel the pulse of the school administration and the locals. Lviv is pretty safe, everybody is going about their business…”
“Some days ago, the school sent out information that students could go back to their houses except for students who had professional examinations. We are still trying to get further clarification from the school on why this group is exempted.
“The issue is we do not have any direction from the Nigerian embassy, I reached out to them and was told to keep checking the website for information. They said they will update us with more information if they receive any. The last update on their website was on January 26, asking us to call the embassy in case of emergency,” he said.
“The embassy urges Nigerian nationals resident in Ukraine to remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their security and safety,” the Nigerian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine said in a statement shared on Twitter by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
With fears that the Russian invasion might get worse by the day, several countries have urged and evacuated their citizens living in the eastern European nation.
Thus far, the following governments have urged their nationals to evacuate, and the list is likely to grow in the coming days.
United States, New Zealand, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Australia, among others.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science in 2020, of the 76548 international students in Ukraine, 4,227 are Nigerians, the fifth-highest international student population.
As the nation awaits an official position on the fate of Nigerian students and citizens residents in the distressed European nation, Nigerians at home have adopted a spiritual approach to seek God’s intervention for the safety of their family members in Ukraine. (Daily Independent)