• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Russia-Ukraine crisis: Reps want FG to evacuate all Nigerians

Reps threaten to scrap NDE, NEMSA over poor performance

The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to widen diplomatic dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities to extend humanitarian needs and safely evacuate all Nigerians, including students still being trapped in the war-torn area of Sumy in Ukraine.

The lawmakers also specifically called on Godfrey Onyeama, the minister of Foreign Affairs, and relevant agencies of the government to immediately this process.

The House also asked the ministry of foreign affairs to interface with, compile and furnish the embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria as well as the Russian foreign ministry with comprehensive data of all Nigerians in Ukraine.

They called on the government of Russia to immediately provide a safe corridor for the evacuation of all Nigerians and other nationals, particularly those trapped in Sumy, in line with the Geneva Convention and other international protocols.

The House reached these resolutions, following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, chairman, House committee on diaspora and Toby Okechukwu, the deputy minority leader.

Moving the motion, Akande-Sadipe expressed concern over the attendant implication for Nigerians living in Sumy as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

She said: “Considering the current war situation in Ukraine, particularly in Sumy and other parts of the war zone, it is plausible to state that the federal ministry of foreign affairs and relevant agencies intensify efforts on diplomatic action to ensure that humanitarian needs are extended to Nigerians, especially students who are stranded in Sumy to enable them exit the country.”

The lawmaker observed that there was limited transportation in the affected areas to evacuate those trapped in Sumy and the Nigerian government ought to intervene in fulfilment of its primary constitutional duty of guaranteeing the welfare and security of the citizens.

Read also: Ukraine crisis, global fallout – colossal failure of diplomacy

Akande-Sadipe said the House “is aware that while Nigerian citizens have been fleeing Ukraine for their safety, Nigerian students, particularly those who are studying medicine in the Sumy State University were, however, caged, not having the opportunity to exit Sumy, as the state is located close to the Russian border and the bridges and train tracks have been blown by Russian forces.

“This situation has put these Nigerian citizens in grave danger and also exposed them to freezing temperature, harsh and life-threatening conditions, and causing death.

We are also aware of over 300 Nigerian students in Sumy, Ukraine that could not be evacuated despite a tripartite agreement among the Russian Federation, the United Nations, and the Government of Ukraine.

“Further aware that these Nigerians are facing very horrible conditions with diminishing food supply, electricity outages, lack of water and other basic needs.

“Worried that the most recent harrowing experience involved where a bus carrying some students was escorted back to Sumy, when they had already travelled 50km close to a neighbouring city and now the hostels are being guarded by Ukraine soldiers who are preventing them from leaving Ukraine.

“Further worried that the situation in Sumy is not only of concern to Nigerians but also to so many countries; and recently, the Indian Prime Minister brought the case to Russian President, Putin, drawing his attention to the presence of his citizens in Sumy. The Russian military had been ordered to create a humanitarian corridor for the exit of foreigners in those areas.

“Concerned that these innocent Nigerians in search of the golden fleece and greener pasture are subjected to and caught in a helpless situation, and if proactive diplomatic steps are not immediately taken to offer humanitarian support, transportation out of Sumy and passage to a safe zone and to these Nigerian students within the ceasefire which is just for 4 days if not, their situation would become very precarious, the lawmakers argued.