- The federal government of Nigeria is concerned about the safety of citizens in Ukraine at this crucial time
- This is why the government summoned Russian and Ukrainian envoys to a meeting on Friday, February
- Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed that when airports in Ukraine resume, Nigeria will begin evacuation of its citizens who wish to return home
The federal government on Friday, February 25, met with ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to Nigeria, Alexei Shebarshin and Kirdoda Valerii respectively,
Top on the meeting's agenda was the safest way to actualise the evacuation of Nigerians from both countries that are currently at war, Vanguard reports.
During a separate meeting Shebarshin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made it plain that the government will not allow Nigeria, a United Nations member state, to be violated by a country with which it has diplomatic relations.
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Speaking on behalf of the government, Onyeama told the Russian enjoy that Nigeria is urging his country to reconsider the option of dialogue in the crisis with Ukraine.
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The minister added that the Buhari-led government is concerned over the lives of 5600 Nigerians living in Ukraine amid bombings and shelling from Russian forces.
“This is really the position of the government. And also, that we have 5600 Nigerians in Ukraine and we are very concerned about what we are hearing and what we are seeing regarding missiles and bombs about the safety of our Nigerian citizens there, that we would like to be able to evacuate them.
“This would be communicated to his headquarters and that obviously, they consider Nigeria a friendly country and Nigerians; and that they would do nothing to harm Nigerians and assured me that their action is targeted at military installations and that they are not about to start attacking civilian areas and so forth."
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On the evacuation of Nigerians who wished to return home, the minister explained that this can only begin when airports in Ukraine resume.
Although Onyeama stated that Shebarshin was skeptical over the option of road travel due to the risks involved, he revealed that the Russian envoy made it clear that his country is very mindful of foreigners in Ukraine.
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Earlier, following the unrest in Ukraine and bombings from Russia, the federal government on Thursday, February 24, said it was planning to evacuate Nigerians.
In a speech on Thursday Onyeama, said the government is seriously considering flight operations to evacuate Nigerian citizens from Ukraine.
Onyeama noted that the Nigerian embassy in Kyiv has been contacted to arrange those wishing to return home from other areas like Donetsk and Luhansk.