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Reps call for immediate evacuation of Nigerians, students from Ukraine

… House mandates leader, committee chair to proceed to Ukraine, Friday to fly home students

The House of Representatives has reacted proactively to the near-war situation between Russia and Ukraine, calling for the immediate evacuation of Nigerians, particularly students, from Ukraine.

At its plenary in Abuja on Thursday, the House directed the Majority Leader, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, and the Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Yusuf Buba, to proceed to Ukraine by Friday (tomorrow).

The Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over proceedings, specifically asked the two lawmakers to urgently liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Intelligence Agency and the management of Air Peace to facilitate the commencement of the evacuation.

Gbajabiamila stated that flowing from the engagements and the cost analysis, the first batch of Nigerians/students “willing” to return home would be airlifted by Monday, next week.

“Time is of the essence. As already stated, a state of emergency has been declared in Ukraine.

“It’s important and urgent to look out for our citizens, especially the students, for their evacuation home”, he added.

The House resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance moved by the member representing Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, Rep.Ahmed Munir, on the need to evacuate Nigerians from Ukraine.

He was concerned that Nigerians, especially students, might be trapped in the Eastern European country.

When asked to contribute to the debate, the foreign affairs chairman, Buba, confirmed the seriousness of the situation.

He also informed the House that many Nigerians lived in Ukraine, the majority being students.

For instance, he said Sokoto State alone sponsored “over 500 students” to study medicine in Ukraine, while Taraba State had about 100 students, among other states in the Federation.

Buba said that the situation had worsened to a point where scarcity of food and other essential supplies had been reported in some parts of Ukraine.

The lawmaker representing Vandeikya/Konshisha Federal Constituency of Benue State raised the alarm that the reaction of Nigeria to the plight of citizens in Ukraine might be late already, considering the fact that a state of emergency had been declared there.

He noted that Russian troops had not only encircled Ukraine but had also entered its cities and shut down several facilities, including some airports.

Hembe argued that the Federal Government ought to have begun the evaluation of Nigerians many weeks before now.

The House’s resolution was unanimously endorsed.

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