Russian Invasion: Your safety is in your hands, Nigeria tells citizens in Ukraine

"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 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. [Twitter/@GeoffreyOnyeama]

The Nigerian government has issued a travel advisory to its citizens resident/visiting Ukraine, saying they are “responsible for their personal security and safety.”

On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) published the advisory via Twitter, issued by the Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine, drawing attention to the declaration of a State of Emergency and Martial Law on the entire territory of Ukraine.

The statement read in part, "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 document, titled 'New Travel Advice By The Embassy of Nigeria, Ukraine', directed emotionally affected nationals to make private arrangements, relocate to safe spaces, and ensure that all their travel documents are intact for a possible return if desired.

Nigerian students in Ukraine have also been directed to seek clearance from their institutions on the way forward for them, with respect to their studies.

Addressing nationals who wish to remain in the country, the embassy noted that it will remain open for regular duties and responsibilities.

However, tweet from a Nigerian student in Ukraine suggests that there has been poor communication from the Embassy since the invasion was confirmed.

Gbemisola Ero-P, a Nigerian student in Ukraine, took to Twitter on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, and said, "For about a month, Nigerian students in Ukraine have tried to reach the embassy. Rightfully, they want to know if there are evacuation plans, should the tensions with Russia escalate. They’ve heard the same thing: 'Check the website'.

"Thing is: there’s nothing on the website m, it hasn’t been updated since January 26th. And there’s nothing online beyond the phone numbers and gmail listed. There’s no communication plan or anything. I hope the embassy is making plans."

Reacting to the embassy's advisory, Gbemisola said, "Not surprised, just sorely disappointed."

Nigerians around the world have expressed concern for the welfare of nationals stuck in Ukraine.

EndSARS activist, Rinu Oduala, tweeted "Abike Dabiri and NIDCOM assured Nigerians that the Nigerian Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine was doing all it can to ensure the safety & security of all Nigerians in that country. So, what are the measures that were put in place for Nigerians?"

Another student in Ukraine, simply identified as Tife, in response to Rinu, tweeted "Right now, most of us are in our homes scared of going out. Some people reported we could go to Poland but then again we need transportation, I tried getting a cab and there are no cabs available. And with everything going on, taking a 13 hour drive is scary and We need knowledge of the country in other to leave the city and other cities are not safe as well, we have been informed of shelters but as for me I am yet to take action as I am waiting on my parents to tell me what to do"

In related development, India is reportedly brokering safety for their citizens to Poland.

At the time of filing this report, there has been no statement from the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs as regards the Russian invasion and the welfare of Nigerian nationals in Ukraine.

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