Ukraine: 596 evacuees arrive Abuja from Poland, Romania

From Aidoghie Paulinus and Okwe Obi, Abuja

A total number of 596 Nigerian evacuees, yesterday, arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, from Romania and Poland.

Their evacuation by the Federal Government was sequel to the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and the Russian Federation which is gaining international attention.

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At exactly 7:10 am, 415 of the Nigerian evacuees arrived from Bucharest, Romania, aboard

Max Air Flight VM 602, while 181 others from Warsaw, Poland, touched down at about 6:40pm aboard Air Peace Airlines.

Speaking with Saturday Sun, one of the parents of the evacuees, Mr Phillip Ogunshakin, said he was at the airport to receive his daughter who has been in Ukraine for more than 10 years.

“The news was painful. But we thank God for everything. Every position you are, you have to thank God. Since the day this incident happened on the 25th February, 2022, we started praying. Even our father, the Pope, told us that we have to be fasting on the 2nd which was Ash Wednesday. Prayer is the key.

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“I am also expecting two of my daughters with a grandson. They schooled there. They had their Masters and they are working. One is a communication officer. The second one is working in the American Embassy. I pray for the remaining people stranded there to come back alive. The name of my first daughter is Temitope Ogunshakin. The second one is Funmilayo Ogunshakin,” Ogunshakin said.

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Upon their arrival, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, disclosed that the returnees from Ukraine were given $100 (about N50,000) to assuage their sufferings.

Speaking with journalists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, Sadia Umar Farouq, said the evacuees will undergo contact tracing.

“We are on top of the situation. The money Mr President directed should be made available, that is the most important thing. Mr President has the powers to direct for funds to be provided.

You know it is an emergency and we had to act promptly and the money was in dollars and we had to pay the airlines in dollars. This naira can be changed to dollars and we are giving them N58,000. We have their documents we are going to test them for COVID-19. So, there is going to be contact tracing and whoever has issues, we will follow up.”

Also speaking, the Leader of the Nigerian Delegation and Director, Consular and Legal Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolaji Akinremi, said another batch of evacuees were expected to arrive yesterday evening.

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