Russian Invasion: Protect yourselves, Nigeria tells citizens in Ukraine

Premium Times


24 Feb 2022

Image Credit: Today show

The Nigerian government has issued an advisory to its citizens in Ukraine, saying they are “responsible for their personal security and safety.”

“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 Nigerian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, said in a statement shared on Twitter by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

Thousands of Nigerians live in Ukraine, many of whom are students in various higher institutions in the country. There are over 4,000 Nigerian students studying in the Eastern European country, according to official records.

The statement also asked students seeking temporary relocation to seek proper clearance and guarantee from their respective institutions, authorities/ agents.

“In case of students seeking such temporary relocation, they are enjoined to seek proper clearance and guarantee from their respective institutions, authorities/agents on the way forward in respect to their studies during this period and/or thereafter,” the embassy told students.

“For those who still consider it appropriate to remain in the country, be assured that the embassy remains open for its consular duties and responsibilities at all times. it will always avail you of updates when necessary,” it said.

It also advised Nigerians who do not feel safe in their current locations to make private arrangements to move to places they consider safer.

“The embassy wishes to add that should any of Nigerian nationals consider the situation as emotionally disturbing, such nationals may wish to temporarily relocate to anywhere considered safe by private arrangements they should, however, ensure that they do all the needful to validate all their resident documents for ease of return to the country when desired.”

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science in 2020, of the 76,548 international students in Ukraine, 4,227 are Nigerians, the fifth highest international student population.

PREMIUM TIMES’ attempt to find out the number of Nigerians in Ukraine failed as the Consular and Legal department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who this reporter was directed to said they do not have the details and were not responsible for that.

However, an official of the ministry told this newspaper that the exact number of Nigerians in Ukraine was not known because many Nigerians do not register themselves with the mission in Ukraine hence making it hard to have an accurate database.

Despite threats of a Russian attack on Ukraine since the beginning of the year, no plans were made for the evacuation of the Nigerians.

Nigerian students in Ukraine have lamented the absence of information or assurances from the Nigerian government or the mission in Kyiv.

Also, some Nigerian students speaking on a Twitter Spaces conversation, alleged that the Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine, Shina Alege, has fled Ukraine. PREMIUM TIMES is unable to independently verify this at the time of filing this report.

Ukranians are fleeing the country heading west to keep safe. Banks are closed and shelves are being cleared by panic buyers looking to stock up owing to the state of emergency in the country.