By John Ikani
Nigeria’s House of Representatives is offering to “shoulder immediate evacuation of Nigerians living and schooling in Ukraine.
This is coming after the Nigerian Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, urged Nigerian nationals living in the country to “remain calm but very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety.
The advice followed Russian President, Vladimir Putin ‘declaration of war’ in Ukraine with explosions heard immediately across the country.
According to a statement issued via the official Twitter handle of the Parliament @HouseNGR, the House Leader and the Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Buba Yakubu are expected to fly to Ukraine on Friday.
“@HouseNGR offer to shoulder immediate evacuation of Nigerians, students from Ukraine,” it read in part.
“@HouseNGR leader, Chair, committee on @NigeriaMFA affairs to jet out to Ukraine, Friday.”
Heritage Times gathered that the House decision to fund evacuation of Nigerians in Ukraine followed the adoption of the motion by a member representing Kaduna, Ahmed Munir on Thursday.
Munir charged the house to begin discussion with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to facilitate the immediate evacuation of Nigerians studying in Ukraine.
The House members were unanimous in their recognition of lives of Nigerians staying in Ukraine, adding that the situation in Ukraine at the moment called for a proactive action from the Federal Government.
“We have a significant number of undergraduate and graduate students currently studying in Ukraine of which a portion are under government scholarships. This is in addition to a number of Nigerian diplomats and their families in the Kiev embassy and Nigerian expatriates across Ukraine. If a strategic plan is not put in place to secure and provide safe passage for our citizens, they may be harmed”.
Responding to the issue, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that the House would commence talks with Air Peace in order to ensure that Nigerians in Ukraine are rescued home.
He therefore directed the House Leader, Alhasaan Ado Doguwa and Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Buba Yakubu, to get ready for an urgent trip to Ukraine, adding that they should ascertain the number of Nigerians affected in the row and ways to get them safely back home.
Update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine is coming under Russian artillery fire and land invasion along its northern and southern borders, the border guard service said on Thursday, adding that Ukrainian forces were returning fire.
The border guards said Russian forces were supported by Belarus and that an attack had been launched from Crimea, the Russian-occupied peninsula region on Ukraine’s southern flank.
“Attacks on border units, border detachments and checkpoints are carried out with the use of artillery, heavy equipment and small arms,” the border guards’ statement said.
“The work of enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups is also recorded.”