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Nigeria’s Federal Government has said it is planning a special flight operation to evacuate Nigerians from Ukraine amid the escalating crisis in the country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this in Abuja on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a “full-scale invasion” was underway.
Weeks of intense diplomacy and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter Putin, who had massed between 150,000 and 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has received with surprise, reports of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” a statement signed by Ministry spokesperson Francisca Omayuli said.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been reassured by the Nigerian Embassy in Ukraine of the safety of Nigerians in that country and measures being undertaken to keep them safe and facilitate the evacuation of those who wish to leave.
“The Federal Government wishes to assure the families with loved ones in Ukraine that as soon as the airports in the country are opened, it would assist in facilitating the evacuation of Nigerians who are willing to leave.
“In the meantime, the Nigerian Mission has confirmed that military action by the Russians has been confined to military installations.”
The lawmakers were concerned there are many Nigerian students in Ukraine who could be caught in the crossfire.
The motion was moved by representative Ahmed Munir during plenary on Thursday.
But some lawmakers feared that it may be too late as the evacuation should have been done long ago.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, agreed with a lawmaker, Leke Abejide, to interact with the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema to evacuate Nigerians from Ukraine by Monday, February 28.