Sunday, 27 February 2022

Ukrainian Solders Preventing Us From Crossing To Poland, Nigerians Cry Out



Despite advice by the Federal Government through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, to Nigerians in troubled Ukraine to cross to Poland, Ukrainian soldiers are said to be preventing them from crossing the border between the two countries. 


Speaking on Saturday on the condition of anonymity, a parent whose kids are studying at Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, stated that his kids having received the information about the exit arrangements, travelled many hours from their school to one of the four borders recommended by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, only to be denied passage by Ukrainian soldiers. 


The parent quoted one of the students who went to Medyka Szegini border, as saying that:”The problem we are having now is not Poland. They have given us the go ahead to enter the country, but the Ukrainian border which is just at the backyard of Poland is gated. 


“The Ukrainian soldiers are not allowing us to pass and we are finding it difficult to locate alternative borders from another direction. What the soldiers told us was that they have priority for women and children and we are not safe here.” 


The concerned parent, therefore, called on the Federal Government through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission under the leadership of Mrs Abike Dabiri Erewa, to liaise with embassy of Ukraine and Russia in Nigeria as well as the Nigerian embassy in both countries to see how Nigerians, particularly students, can be evacuated as soon as possible because their lives are no doubt in danger. 

He further said: ”The Nigerian government must do something urgent. These Ukrainian soldiers want to use some Nigerians as shields. This should not be encouraged and the time for the Federal Government to act is now.” 


Earlier, the Federal Government had listed four borders in Ukraine where Nigerian citizens seeking to leave the European country can use to cross safely into neighbouring Poland. NIDCOM, chairperson, Abike Dabiri-Erewa had disclosed on Saturday that the borders are HrebenneRawa Ruska, Korczowa-Krakowiec, Medyka-Szeginie and Budomierz-Hurszew. 


“For Nigerians in Ukraine trying to cross over to Poland, there are eight borders between Poland and Ukraine, four borders are recommended. 


“Nigeria volunteer groups, as well as staff of the Nigerian embassy, will be at these borders to help you out. We are going to provide contact details of these Nigerians that will be there to help you out and the convergence point,” she stated. 


Similarly, the Nigerian Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, has said necessary arrangements have been put in place to evacuate stranded Nigerians in Ukraine. 


The Embassy, in a public notice, said officials and volunteers would be at the Polish-Ukrainian borders to pick up Nigerians. 



It advised Nigerians crossing over to Poland to present 02-953, Kosiarzy 22B, 02-956 Warszawa as the destination address to the border officials. 


Meanwhile, 22 Nigerian students from Sokoto state and their colleagues from other states of the country studying in Ukraine will soon exit the country and return home safely. 


Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, arising from a Zoom meeting he set up between the trapped students and their worried parents at Government House, Sokoto, on Saturday, pledged not to rest on his oars until all the students have left Ukraine currently under attack by Russia. 


A statement signed by the special adviser on media and publicity, Muhammad Bello, and released to newsmen in Sokoto on Saturday evening, said prior to today’s zoom meeting, the state security council meeting was convened yesterday by the Governor with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar in attendance. According to Tambuwal during today’s Zoom meeting, the state government is in touch with the Nigerian embassy in Ukraine and the federal government. He added that the state Ministry of Finance has been directed to send money to the stranded students, who said they needed about $200-$300 to cater for their immediate needs. 


Equally, he assured the students and parents that Nigerian officials, including uniformed attaches, have been stationed at the border of Romania to receive the students arriving the Ukraine. 


These officials, he explained, upon receiving the students, would profile them, provide them with accommodation and feeding for 24 hours and subsequently arrange further transits for them. 



The governor shared a communication from the chairman/CEO of Nigerian in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa, that useful information on how students should organize themselves. will be sent to a platform he has created and monitors constantly. He also prayed for the safe return of the students and admonished them not to panic but raise concerns through the same platform if there is any emergency or concerns. 


“The state government shall continue to do what we have to do. Personally, I won’t abandon our students and their parents at this time or anytime in the future,” the governor pledged. 


“God willing (Insha Allah), you will be safe and come back to us safely,” he said, taking note of the reach out to some parents by the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO), that he will contact the international agencies if need be.” 



The governor apologised and expressed worry that such a meeting wasn’t held yesterday because of some exigencies of state and miscommunication. 


In their contributions during the Zoom meeting, some of the Sokoto students trapped in Ukraine asked the state government to quickly evacuate them as the chances of their leaving the country will soon evaporate if the situation gets worse. Aisha Kabir told the governor and the audience that “the situation in Kharkiv is a bit bad. 


“We are still hearing some shootings. Although there are arrangements to drive us by bus towards Romania, the drivers are afraid they might be attacked. We feel that the train station are a bit safer and the railways a better way to move out,” she said. 


Another student on scholarship from Sokoto state, Shuaibu Muhammad, said they were witnessing some challenges in Krakow, Poland, where the state scholarship board has been in touch with them since the beginning of the crisis. But, the camps there are no longer safe, what with lack of food and deteriorating sanitary conditions, he narrated


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