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Nigerians in Ukraine head to Hungary, Romania

Many people have been evacuated from the capital, Kyiv, as the fighting intensifies [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

To escape fighting Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recommended Ukrainian-based Nigerians follow the Hungarian Zahony and Romanian Suceava, Tulcea, Satu Mare County, and Maramures borders.

The countries have granted visa-free entry for Nigerians arriving from Ukraine, and arrangements for accommodation and feeding prior to evacuation have also been made, according to a statement by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, on Sunday.

He stated that the federal government was aware of the difficulty Nigerians face when crossing into countries bordering Ukraine, particularly the Polish border, and that adequate measures are being taken to alleviate these difficulties.

He said the Minister of Foreign Affairs has spoken with his counterpart in Ukraine about the development and that they are both working to ease suffering, including the deployment of the International Organisation for Migration IOM to the border.

Relatives of Nigerians in Ukraine were urged to remain calm; the Federal Government was working tirelessly to ensure that they all return home safely, the statement said.

According to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NiDCOM, the Embassy of Nigeria in Romania is prepared to receive her citizens arriving from Ukraine at Romania’s entrance points.

Nigerian students and footballers are caught up in the war and are scrambling to escape.

Some of the students crossed the border into Poland, though many claimed they were denied entry, Aljazeera reported.

Polish officials claimed on Saturday that more than 115,000 people had entered the country and that all those coming from Ukrainiane, even those without legal passports, were permitted entry.

Russia-Ukraine war

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a “special military action” against Ukraine.

Following a full-fledged invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared martial law, claiming that his country will defend itself.

As Russian troops advanced, fighting reached the streets of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, on Saturday.

The US military estimates that Russia already has at least half of its anticipated 150,000-strong invading forces in Ukraine.

More than 200 civilians, including three children, have been killed in the war thus far, according to Ukraine’s health ministry, and about a thousand people have been hurt in the battle, including 33 children.

Since the violence began, the United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people have been internally displaced.

Writing by Hamza Alkali; Editing by Omotola Oguneye and Saadatu Albashir