Categories: Local

Evacuation: FG ‘Didn’t Know’ Russia Would Invade Ukraine – Onyeama

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama on Monday defended the Federal Government’s response to the evacuation of Nigerians in Ukraine.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the Minister said it was difficult to plan ahead because the Nigerian government didn’t know how the situation would evolve.

“The majority of people did not know the Russians would invade,” he said. “Putin was saying we are not going to invade, that this is just Americans giving them a bad name as it were. The Americans withdrew their staff, the UK also (issued) a travel advisory.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Does Not Condone Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine – Onyeama

“We got in touch with our embassy staff. They are in the best position to know the situation. And at every point, the ambassador said ‘no, things are calm here’. The embassies in Ukraine were also cooperating. And they were issuing joint assessments of the situation. And they were advising their people not to evacuate. Now, we didn’t know how things were going to evolve.”

Russia started to mass troops at its borders with Ukraine late last year raising fears of an invasion.

The Nigerian embassy in Ukraine on January 26 had released a notice advising citizens to “contact the mission and register appropriately.”

On Thursday after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the embassy advised Nigerians in the country to “remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety.”

However, federal lawmakers called for Nigerians to be evacuated, apparently leading to the latest efforts by the government.

Solomon Elusoji

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