The federal government of Nigeria is right about now concluding plans to evacuate over 2000 persons from Nigeria and other west African countries who are studying and living in crisis ridden European country of Ukraine.
The Director, Consular and Legal Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolaji Akinremi, has hinted during a chat with pressmen.
Akinremi said the Nigerian government had the capacity to evacuate all 8,000 Nigerians and another 2,000 Africans with primary focus on citizens of West Africa.
He added that once these Africans arrive in Nigeria, they will have to make their way to their respective countries. All these, he said, would be done free of charge.
“We are making provisions to evacuate citizens of Ghana, Togo and mainly West African countries. It is open to all African countries. He said
“We have provisions for about 2,000 of them as long as they can find their way from here.”
Akinremi added that the evacuation would begin on Thursday and not Wednesday as expected.
He said the planes that would evacuate those stranded would arrive in the countries bordering Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday.
When asked why the evacuation will no longer happen on Wednesday, he said, “We cannot do it without authorisation of the host country. So, it will be Wednesday night into Thursday.”
Speaking on NTA’s Good Morning Nigeria programme, Akinremi said contrary to some reports, the Nigerian government had been assisting some Nigerians to flee Ukraine even before the war began.
He said at least 200 Nigerians had returned home, many of whom were given free tickets by the Nigerian government.
He added, “The aspect we are not focusing on is those that have already arrived in Nigeria. There are a large number of people that have returned on their own. Over 200 people have arrived in the last one week and they were assisted by the government. Most of them had their tickets but we procured tickets for many of them.
“Also at the state level, governors are also making arrangements along with the private sector.”
He added that the government would assist them with COVID-19 protocols and other requirements.