By John Ikani
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the release of $8.5m to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to facilitate the immediate evacuation of Nigerians caught up in the Russia, Ukraine war
The approval was disclosed by Zubairu Dada, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The Minister, who was flanked by his counterpart, the Minister of Humanitarian, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, said the Federal Government has contracted Air Peace and Max Air airlines to avail three aircraft to facilitate the evacuation.
He said the evacuees include 940 from Romania, 150 from Slovakia and 350 from Poland who have registered to leave.
On the amount approved, Dada explained that “The ministry of humanitarian affairs wrote a memo to the president seeking funding to enable us to conduct this exercise. The memo was to the tune of $8.5m which Mr. President has graciously approved. That provision entails an arrangement to evacuate no less than 5,000 Nigerians.
“It also includes some assistance for the feeding that may have been done by the missions under whatever arrangements. Even the missions themselves are also in dire situations.”
Russia and Ukraine have been at war since last week over the latter’s decision to join NATO.
About 5,000 Nigerian students have been affected by the ongoing war in Eastern European countries.
The Nigerian Government had expressed desires to evacuate its citizens in Ukraine.
Nigerian embassies in Romania, Hungary, and Poland have received over 256 stranded Nigerians from Ukraine.
Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had said the Federal Government would commence the evacuation of stranded Nigerians from Ukraine from Wednesday.