Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, on Monday in Abuja to discuss the evacuation of Nigerians from Ukraine.
Russia proclaimed a ‘special military action‘ on Ukraine on Thursday last week According to the UN, over 300,000 people have already been displaced as countries scramble to evacuate their citizens.
The Speaker said the House would provide every assistance to the Ministry in order for it to begin the evacuation of Nigerians from the country
He praised the ministry for the actions it has done so far to safeguard Nigerians, the majority of whom he said are students, but stated that the country must find ways to improve its response time to emergencies.
He said reaction mechanisms, such as funds, planes, and other equipment, must be promptly available to respond to life-threatening circumstances promptly.
“We must be in a state of readiness at all times. We should have our own planes and necessary funding to respond quickly to such emergencies”, the Speaker stated.
He said the National Assembly would approve supplementary appropriations and make legislation to address such emergencies
While providing the Speaker with a situation update, the Minister, Mr Onyeama, informed him that matters were under control in Ukraine and that the Federal Government had put in place the necessary arrangements to secure the safe return of Nigerians.
He disclosed that in the last few days, the ministry in conjunction with the missions had completed formalities for Nigerians to move to safe border points from where they would be transported to the airports.
According to him, the first round of airlifting would take place on Wednesday.
He stated that the evacuation, which was originally slated for Monday, was rescheduled to allow the ministry, the House, and Nigerian embassies in Ukraine, Poland, and Russia to complete the formalities of transferring Nigerians from inside Ukraine to secure borders.
He mentioned Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Russia as possible exit points.
The minister, who stated that there are approximately 5,600 Nigerian students in Ukraine, also said there are non-students, some of whom may not be properly documented.