• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Russia – Ukraine conflict: Forlorn Nigerian students struggle to enter Poland

Transparency Index associates corruption with increased violence globally

Nigerian students studying in Ukraine are scared for their lives, confuse d and left out as the Nigerian embassy is yet to evacuate them from the crisis zone in Ukraine.

In a live Twitter space chat monitored by BusinessDay, Friday afternoon, some of the stranded students shared their experience as they labour through biting cold weather for about two to three hours for safety at the Polish border where there are refugee camps.

It is safer to be in the camps than in Ukraine, the students say.

The Poland–Ukraine border is about 535 km (332 mi) or 529 km (329 mi).

“The situation is more serious than what is being reported in the news,” Rawling Onyi said. “Reaching the embassy has made me very depressed because they are telling me to take a covid test before I can leave.”

He said as of Thursday, at least seven Nigerians he knows who are trying to reach the Polish border are yet to make it there.

“I have not seen a Nigerian cross the borders,” Onyi added. “The embassy in Ukraine is not even helpful in allowing Nigerians to get to the border.”

He also expressed his disappointment to the Nigerian embassy in Ukraine, saying it is non-functional.

“Forget you are a Nigerian, you are nobody here,” he said.

A twitter user, @copywriter, tweeted that her sister who is studying in a troubled country and her group of friends are being harassed by the Ukrainian soldiers because of the language barrier.

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“My sister in a group of 20 young Nigerians were trying to get to the border by bus,” she narrated.

“They had tried a taxi or boat but it was futile. The soldiers separated them, thereby preventing them from getting to the border.”

She further added that they had no choice but to go back to their hostel.

“At the moment they feel forlorn.”

On February 24, Russia attacked Ukraine in what could be the start of war in Europe over Russia’s demands for an end to NATO’s eastward expansion.

According to Ukraine’s government, an estimated 4,000 Nigerians are studying in tertiary institutions across Ukraine in 2020, the highest number of African nationals there, along with Morocco.

“The best thing is to go towards the border to get to Poland,” Obianna Victor said on the Space. “Going to the border is better than being in the city.”

On Thursday, the Federal Government urged Nigerians in Ukraine to remain calm but very vigilant and be responsible for their own security and safety in the country.

A statement issued by the Nigerian Embassy, in Kiev, urged Nigerian students seeking temporary relocation to seek proper clearance and guarantee form before relocating.