Russia-Ukraine War: 31 Evacuees From Romania Arrive In Nigeria

File photo of Nigerians evacuated from Ukraine during arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on Monday, March 14, 2022.


The seventh batch of Nigerian evacuees from Ukraine arrived Monday morning at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

They arrived aboard a Turkish airline and they were airlifted from Romania where they had fled following the war in Ukraine.

The evacuees numbering 31 arrived at 6:30 am and were received by officials of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), and the Refugee Commission.

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This is the second set of evacuees from Romania following the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has left many displaced.

However, unlike the previous batches of returnees that arrived via chartered flights, the 31 evacuees arrived on a commercial flight.

This batch of evacuees did not come into the airport through the regular arrival point. They came through the international wing of the airport, and due to protocols, journalists were not allowed entry to the arrival hall to talk with them or film their arrival.

A representative of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Channels Television that the reason the government used a commercial flight was that they were few in number.

Hundreds of people have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country while over two million people have been displaced. Two Ukraine mayors have been abducted by invading Russian forces, bringing strong condemnation from the European Union.

Russia-Ukraine Crisis: 256 Nigerians Have Been Received In Poland, Hungary, Romania – FG

In this file photo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, speaks during a meeting at his office in Abuja on August 17, 2020.


The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said 130 Nigerians have been received by the country’s embassy in Romania.

In a statement, the ministry explained that it has also provided accommodation for them while arrangements are being made to take them back home.

“Also, officials at Budapest, Hungary have received and accommodated 74 Nigerians safely, where they are being documented for subsequent travel arrangements back to Nigeria,” the statement, signed by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, read.

According to him, another batch of about 200 Nigerians is expected in Budapest later in the day. He also said 52 persons have been received in Warsaw, Poland. Of the number, 23 are being processed at the Polish Government Reception Point at Hala Kijowska.

“The camp is well organised with beds and beddings, food, heating, clothing, and medicals for evacuees,” the statement added.

“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 Federal Government’s recent move was a sequel to the Russian invasion of Ukraine about five days ago. On Sunday, the ministry said the Hungarian and Romanian governments have approved visa-free access to Nigerians coming from the Eastern European nation.

“For now, movement to the Hungarian Zahony border and Romanian Suceava, Tulcea, Satu Mare County & Maramures borders is advised, as they have approved visa-free access to all Nigerians coming from Ukraine and arrangements for accommodation and feeding before evacuation is arranged,” Aduda said.

Right To Safe Passage

Refugees from many different countries – from Africa, the Middle East, and India – mostly students of Ukrainian universities are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, in eastern Poland on February 27, 2022.  AFP


On the same day, the presidency described reports of Nigerians being barred from exiting Ukraine as “unfortunate”. It said the government is concerned about the safety and human rights of all Nigerians.

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

“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.”

Romanian Billionaire, Seven Others Die In Plane Crash Near Milan

The Italian Flag.


A light aircraft piloted by Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu crashed into an empty office building near Milan on Sunday, killing him, his wife and their son, and all five others aboard, Italian media reported. 

The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 had taken off from Milan’s Linate airport shortly after 1:00 pm (1100 GMT) headed for Olbia in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia.

It crashed just a few minutes later in San Donato Milanese, a town southeast of Milan, according to aviation agency ANSV, which has opened an investigation.

Witnesses said the plane was already in flames before it crashed into an office building undergoing renovations.

Petrescu, 68, was one of Romania’s richest men. He headed a major construction firm and owned a string of hypermarkets and malls. He also held Germany nationality, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Corriere and the AGI news agency said Petrescu’s 65-year-old wife, who also had French nationality, and their son Dan Stefano, 30, were killed, as well as a child.

Milan Mayor Beppe Sala and his San Donato counterpart Andrea Checchi headed to the scene.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano was quoted by Corriere as saying that the plane’s black box had been recovered.


Four COVID-19 Patients Killed As Fire Engulfs Hospital In Romania


At least four people died Friday after a fire broke out in Romania’s main hospital treating Covid-19 patients, officials told AFP.

Three patients were found dead at the Matei Bals hospital in Bucarest and a fourth died despite attempts at resuscitation, state secretary of the Ministry of Interior Raed Arafat told reporters.

The fire reportedly broke out on the ground floor around 5:00am (0300 GMT), said Orlando Schiopu, head of the inspectorate for emergency situations.

Four wards were affected and 102 people had been evacuated and transferred to other hospitals, he added.

Romania is still reeling from a similar tragedy in November when ten people suffering from Covid-19 died in a fire in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the northeastern town of Piatra Neamt.

Five others injured in the fire later died of their injuries.

The prosecutor general has opened an enquiry into the tragedy, while the health ministry has suggested the fire could have been caused by an electrical short circuit.

The incident sparked wider safety warnings in a country marked by crumbling infrastructure and a culture of makeshift repairs.

The country of 19 million is one of the poorest in the European Union and is trying to manage the Covid-19 pandemic with a dilapidated and understaffed health system.


Romanian Prime Minister Orban Resigns

Romanian Prime Minister and President of National Liberal Party (PNL) ruling party Ludovic Orban (C) address a presser at PNL headquarters in Bucharest December 6, 2020. Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP


Romania’s Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced Monday that he was resigning a day after a disappointing showing for his liberal party in parliamentary elections.

“I have today decided to tender my resignation,” Orban said in a televised statement after his National Liberal Party (PNL) came second to the left-wing opposition Social Democrats.

“My decision should clearly show that I’m not clinging to any position. For me the national interest comes before the party and personal one”, he added.

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President Klaus Iohannis is expected to pick another cabinet minister to lead the government on an interim basis.

The PNL party came in second in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, with 25.5 percent, compared to 30 percent for the Social Democrats Party (PSD), according to results based on 95 percent of the votes counted.

Nevertheless, the liberals might continue to govern as part of a centre-right coalition, after president Klaus Iohannis suggested he won’t nominate a prime minister from the PSD.


Defending Champion Pliskova Into Italian Open Final

Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova celebrates after defeating Italy’s Camila Giorgi during their women’s singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 19, 2019.
William WEST / AFP


Defending champion Karolina Pliskova eased into the final of the WTA Italian Open on Sunday to set up a meeting with top seed Simona Halep of Romania.

Pliskova, the second seed, beat fellow Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-finals of the final warm-up tournament on clay before the French Open.

Top seed Halep battled to conquer Spanish ninth seed Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in their earlier semi-final at the Foro Italico.

World number two Halep is seeking her first Rome title after finishing runner-up in 2017 and 2018.


Romanian League Suffers Resumption Setback As Doctor Contracts COVID-19

Medical personnel prepare to test people for Coronavirus at National Arena stadium in Bucharest June 10, 2020. A testing programme called “Am I immune to COVID?” begins on Tuesday, at the National Arena stadium where the City Hall of Bucharest has made all the necessary preparations from a medical and logistical point of view to randomly test around 2,000 people. Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP


Romania’s plans to resume its top football league were put on hold on Friday after staff at two of the clubs due to play in the opening games tested positive for coronavirus.

“We all want football to return to the stadiums, but the health of the players is paramount,” Justin Stefan, the head of the league (LPF) told Romanian media on Friday.

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After a three-month break due to the coronavirus lockdown, the LPF was due to kick off on Friday evening with FC Botosani visiting Universitatea Craiova.

Instead, Botosani’s players and staff were tested and put in quarantine after the team’s doctor tested positive for COVID-19.

Four games were scheduled for Saturday, but Dinamo Bucharest’s home game with Chindia Targoviste was also called off after one of the Dinamo staff was found to have contracted the virus.

“I’m afraid the season will not start again at all,” said Botosani owner Valeriu Iftimie.

Romania’s government last week approved a request for the country’s Liga 1 to resume on Friday after a three-month hiatus.

Eight games are left in the second phase of the championship. Some games could still take place over the weekend if no further cases are discovered.

Romania has reported more than 21,400 coronavirus cases with 1,380 deaths.


Romania Makes Wearing Of Mask Compulsory After Coronavirus Lockdown

A church volunteer wearing protective equipment brings holy light to the people at their home during Christian Orthodox Easter celebration prior to the religious service held with closed doors due to the social distancing rules imposed by the state of emergency in Bucharest April 18, 2020. Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP.


Romania will make wearing masks in public transport and other enclosed public spaces compulsory from May 15 when a lockdown imposed to stop the new coronavirus’s spread is lifted, its president said Wednesday.

“Maybe we’ll be able to give up wearing masks next year, when this pandemic will be under control,” Klaus Iohannis said as he appeared on camera wearing a mask.

Movement restrictions introduced as part of a state of emergency will be lifted, Iohannis added, though mass gatherings remain banned.

“We will move more freely, but life won’t return to the normalcy we knew before this pandemic,” Iohannis said.

“We must find a way to live with this virus… So while some measures will be relaxed, the personal responsibility of each of us will grow,” he added.

Romania has reported more than 9,700 cases of new coronavirus infections so far with 512 deaths.

READ ALSO: Fight Climate Change Like Coronavirus – UN

On April 14, the EU member of almost 20 million people extended its nationwide lockdown for another month in a bid to slow the virus’s spread.

Under the restrictions enforced by the police and the army, citizens are banned from going outside except for work and essential shopping during the day.

Schools have been closed and most foreigners are barred from entering the country.


Woman Dies After Being Set On Fire During Hospital Operation


A woman has died after being set on fire during a hospital operation in Romania, the health ministry said Monday, in a case which has cast a spotlight on the ailing health  system.

The pancreatic cancer patient died Sunday after suffering burns to 40 percent of her body when surgeons used an electrical scalpel despite her being treated with an alcohol-based disinfectant.

Contact with the flammable disinfectant caused combustion and the patient “ignited like a torch”, lawmaker Emanuel Ungureanu said on his Facebook page, citing medical staff at the capital’s Floreasca urgent care hospital.

A nurse threw a bucket of water onto the 66-year-old Romanian to prevent the December 22 fire from spreading.

The health ministry vowed to investigate the “unfortunate incident”.

“The surgeons should have been aware that it is prohibited to use an alcohol-based disinfectant during surgical procedures performed with an electric scalpel,” deputy minister Horatiu Moldovan said.

The victim’s family said the medical staff had spoken of an “accident”, but declined to offer details.

Despite some improvements due to increased funding, Romania’s hospital system still suffers from dilapidated equipment and a shortage of doctors, and finds itself at the heart of repeated scandals.

In a 2015 nightclub fire that killed 64 people — 26 on site and 38 others later — a former health minister stands accused of having delayed, and even blocked, the transfer of burn victims abroad.

They subsequently died in ill-equipped Romanian hospitals. An inquiry is still ongoing.


Romanians Pay Tribute To Victims Of 1989 Revolution

People march with baloons reading “Freedom” during the commemoration of the victims of the 1989 Revolution in Bucharest on December 22, 2019. A thousand people commemorated on December 22, 2019 in Bucharest the victims of the Romanian revolution of December 1989 and hoped that the light will be shed on the bloody events which followed the fall of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP


Thousands of people marched in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Sunday to remember those who lost their lives in the revolution 30 years ago that ended the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.

The marchers observed a minute’s silence in Revolution Square then released hundreds of balloons, which organisers said represented the 1,142 people killed during the uprising.

President Klaus Iohannis and several ministers from his centre-right administration laid commemorative wreaths and lit candles in front of a monument to the victims.

“We want to know the truth about December 1989,” Iohannis said a few hours earlier, as he opened an exhibition on the revolution.

“We want the guilty to be judged and for justice to be done,” he said.

Romania’s former president, Ion Iliescu, is currently on trial accused of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in power during the final days of the revolution.

“It’s thanks to those who died in December 1989 that we live in a free country,” said 52-year-old Veronica Nicolau at the rally.

“I came to express my gratitude to these young innocents who were killed in cold blood,” said Petre Cojan, a 73-year-old pensioner close to tears.

“One day, we will know the truth and then we will finally be able to celebrate the revolution rather than just commemorating it,” he added.

Up until December 22, 1989, it was Ceausescu who gave the order to the army and the security forces to fire on protesters.

But most of the more than 900 victims died after he had been toppled from power and when Iliescu had taken over. His trial started last month.

The 1989 revolution that overthrew the Ceausescu regime began on December 15 in the western city of Timisoara before reaching the capital six days later.

Ceausescu and his wife Elena were arrested on December 22 and shot after a summary trial on Christmas Day.

Sunday’s rally was the latest in a series of events held over the past few days to commemorate the revolution.

Fifth Patient Dies After Romania Psychiatric Ward Attack

File photo


A fifth victim died on Monday from injuries sustained in an attack over the weekend by a patient in a Romanian psychiatric hospital, the country’s health minister said.

The 88-year-old woman “was suffering from multiple illnesses and has died after a cardiac arrest,” Sorina Pintea said.

She added that the manager of the hospital in the eastern town of Sapoca had resigned and that an investigation had been opened into the incident that took place Saturday night.

A 38-year-old man, who had admitted himself to the hospital for treatment for an alcohol problem, is suspected of attacking other patients in the same treatment room with a transfusion stand before entering a second room and assaulting more people.

Three of the patients suffered head injuries and died at the scene while a fourth died later in hospital.

Local press reports say nine others were injured in the attack, two of whom are in a coma.

“Everything happened in less than a minute,” hospital director Viorica Mihalascu was quoted as saying on Sunday before stepping down.

But Pintea disputed this version of how things unfolded, saying that there had been “a long chain of errors” on the part of the hospital staff.

“It’s hard to believe no employee heard the noise made by the attacker”, said Pintea, adding that the transfusion stand should not have been left within reach of the patient.

The government has promised checks on all psychiatric hospitals in Romania in light of the incident.

Four Dead In Romania Psychiatric Hospital Attack


Four people have died and nine were injured after being attacked by a patient in a psychiatric hospital, Romanian press reports said Sunday.

They said a 38-year-old man who had admitted himself to the hospital in Sapoca, northeast of the capital Bucharest, entered a treatment room and attacked other patients with a transfusion stand.

Three of the patients suffered head injuries and died at the scene while a fourth died later in hospital, the reports said.

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Among the nine injured in the attack, two were in a coma, they added.

“Everything happened in less than a minute,” hospital director Viorica Mihalascu was quoted as saying.

“This patient was admitted on a normal surveillance level. His symptoms did not give an indication that a tragedy was imminent,” she told Antena 3 television station.