Ukraine war: Nigeria approves two airlines to evacuate citizens

Tuesday March 01 2022
Parents of Nigerian students in Ukraine

A protest by parents of Nigerian students in Ukraine at the embassy of Russia in Abuja on February 28, 2022 calling for peace in Ukraine. PHOTO | MOHAMMED MOMOH | NMG


The Federal Government of Nigeria has appointed two national airlines, Air Peace and Max Air, to commence, by Wednesday, the evacuation of its citizens held up in troubled Ukraine.

Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the foreign affairs minister, reported Monday February 28, after a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives, that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the plan to rescue Nigerians from the Ukraine.

The evacuation is expected to take place in countries neighbouring Ukraine, which is still at war with Russia and has a no-fly zone.

The minister reported that hundreds Nigerians fleeing from Ukraine have been received in Poland, Hungary and Romania by Nigerian embassies.

Many Nigerian students in Ukraine have called for help in leaving the conflict hotspot.

The nation’s embassy in Ukraine initially asked citizens to take responsibility for their own security but reversed course as the crisis worsened.


Nigeria has set up camps in the countries where its citizens have been directed to move into.

“The camp is well organised with beds and beddings, food, heating, clothing, and medicals for evacuees,” the foreign affairs ministry said.

“We assure Nigerians that all hands are on deck and arrangements are being put in place to effectively evacuate our citizens, in safety and dignity.”

The government’s move is in response to the protests by parents of Nigerian students in Ukraine.

The protesters on Monday moved to the Russian Embassy in Abuja, calling for peace in the Slavic nations.

The protests were triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Nigeria’s presidency had also condemned reports of officials barring Nigerians from leaving Ukraine to neighbouring nations. 

“We understand the pain and fear that is confronting all people who find themselves in this terrifying place,” a presidential aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said in a statement issued.

“We also appreciate that those in official positions in security and border management will in most cases be experiencing impossible expectations in a situation they never expected. But, for that reason, it is paramount that everyone is treated with dignity and without favour.

“All who flee a conflict situation have the same right to safe passage under UN Convention and the colour of their passport or their skin should make no difference.”