Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama urged Nigerians in Ukraine to remain calm as evacuations will resume when the airports reopen.
He stated this in an exclusive interview with NTA on Thursday.
The Minister also revealed that Russia’s denial of plans to invade Ukraine affected plans to earlier evacuate.
What the Foreign Minister is saying
Onyeama said the plan for evacuation will commence as soon as the airports are reopened.
“We believe all Nigerians should stay in their residence. What we plan to do is that when the airports, are opened, the embassy will assist those who are ready and willing to leave.
“There are five airports and so we are now planning on how to get Nigerians to the airports nearest to where there are staying, and assisting their evacuation,” he said.
Onyeama said that the advice the FG initially got was not to cause panic among the Nigerians living in Ukraine with evacuation but to take reasonable caution. He said the Russian government were initially insisting that they had no plan to attack Ukraine even though the Americans and British warned that an attack was imminent.
“It was difficult to take a definitive position with regards to advising everyone to leave.
“I told the ambassador that we have to be cautious, that those who want to leave should leave, and this was issued. A number of Nigerians said they preferred to stay, as they did not feel under any immediate threat,” he said.
In a statement, the Ministry says it wants to assure the families with loved ones in Ukraine that as soon as the airports in Ukraine are opened, it would assist in facilitating the evacuation of Nigerians, who are willing to leave