Refusal of Nigerians to return home from Ukraine sums up the country's reputation (Pulse Contributor's Opinion)

The Nigerian government is making efforts to evacuate its citizens from the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia but not everyone is interested in leaving.

Refusal of Nigerians to return home from Ukraine sums up the country's reputation (Pulse Contributor's Opinion)

No one ever imagined that Russia President Vladimir Putin would order for an invasion of Ukraine on the scale it presently has where according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more than two million people have fled into neighboring countries for safety.

No one saw such coming, not even Russia's closest allies but it sends a signal that the Russian President's capabilities should never be underestimated but rather taken seriously.

Ukrainians are not the only ones to have fled the conflict but also nationals from other countries of which Nigerians are among. There are considerable number of them in Ukraine, many of them students.

Countries of the world have been making moves to evacuate their nationals from Ukraine since the conflict began. The Nigerian government did not respond swiftly at the beginning but has kicked the operation into gear, successfully evacuating more than 1000 people out of an estimated 140,000 Nigerians in Ukraine.

While some Nigerians are happy to have fled the conflict and return home, others are not keen to, asserting that it was better to stay in Ukraine with the conflict than come home. Those were the thoughts of Lukman Ibrahim, a student who fled Ukraine into Poland.

“I will seek for student permit and continue my life from here. Because home is not safe, everybody knows this. You now expect me to come home and face the same thing when I just survived a war? I will never do that,” Ibrahim said on Channels TV.

Nnamdi Okafor, a resident of Ukraine even went further to say he would prefer to be a refugee in Ukraine or die in the conflict than return to Nigeria.

“What am I coming back to Nigeria to do? Has anything changed in our country?,” Okafor told TheNiche.

“For now, I am still in Ukraine. I used to live in the capital city, Kyiv, but I have moved to one of the border towns which is relatively safe presently.

“But if the war reaches there, I will escape to another country by the grace of God. But if death becomes my destiny, so be it. I would rather be here as a refugee than return to Nigeria.”

It is rather shameful that Nigerians can make such statements about their country but hey, they cannot be blamed.

The state of affairs in Nigeria is nothing to write home about with insecurity of unthinkable forms being the order of the day. Just recently, a lady by the name of Bamise Ayanwole, went missing after boarding a BRT bus in Lagos only for her to found dead days later.

If public transport system run by the government cannot be safe then nothing is. This is why many Nigerians are eager to leave for the other side of the world where better security is guaranteed. Not only security but education, jobs, family life and everything that makes the quality of living much better.

The Nigerian government has made attempts in making it difficult for its citizens to move out of the country but why would they want to move out in the first place if their safety was guaranteed? Government officials enjoy the best of protection so why can't the citizens who voted them in have the same? Are they not entitled to it as well?

The refusal of Nigerians to return home from the crisis in Ukraine should humiliate the Nigerian government to its very core. Would Brazilians or Indians refuse to turn down their government's evacuation efforts in a time of crisis in another country? Not likely.

Of course, not everyone would return home. Some stay back even in the midst of conflict for genuine reasons. However to refuse going back home all because it is not safe makes that country no different from countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and others. Is Nigeria seen in that class? The sad reality is yes. What is sadder is that the government would most likely not take this as a serious issue knowing that international reputation is at stake.

Blame not then the more Nigerians who want to leave the country for a better life, for it their right and what they 100% deserve.

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