Several Nigerians trying to cross from Ukraine into neighbouring countries have further narrated their ordeal in the hands of Ukrainian security operatives and the near-impossible task of crossing into other countries.
Some of the Nigerians who spoke to SaharaReporters said some officials labelled them as Russians and almost burnt them to death but for the intervention of some policemen.
“They said we are Russians. This is really getting out of hand. We almost got burnt yesterday, on our way from Lviv to Uzhgorod. It was a policeman that saved the situation,” one of them said.
“We are not allowed into Slovakia. We can get a flight home from Slovakia. Most of our phones are dead. The current situation is that you are denied entry into Slovakia. Someone who managed to enter Slovakia in the middle of the night said no one from Nigeria had reached out to them,” another Nigerian lamented.
“We are denied exit from Ukraine. At Uzhgorod city (border between Ukraine and Slovakia),” another stranded Nigerian said.
SaharaReporters earlier reported that hundreds of Nigerians and other nationals were currently freezing at locations around the Ukraine border after security officials refused to allow them entry into neighbouring countries.
The Nigerian government had on Saturday listed four borders in Ukraine where its citizens seeking to leave the country could be evacuated.
SaharaReporters was however told on Sunday that people could not move out and Nigerians were already freezing at the borders.
“They are not allowing us to leave the Ukrainian border. They are only evacuating their people to Slovak. We are stuck in Uzhgorod just before we enter Slovak. Can’t type much; we will walk into Slovak; the Ukrainian soldiers should just let us leave,” a Nigerian had lamented.
“They are not doing any paperwork here. They are taking most of their people. Out of like 200 people, we are the only blacks,” another victim said.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) had stated on Saturday that the borders are Hrebenne-Rawa Ruska, Korczowa-Krakowiec, Medyka-Szeginie and Budomierz-Hurszew.
“For Nigerians in Ukraine trying to cross over to Poland, there are eight borders between Poland and Ukraine, four borders are recommended,” she had said.
“Nigeria volunteer groups, as well as staff of the Nigerian embassy, will be at these borders to help you out. We are going to provide contact details of these Nigerians that will be there to help you out and the convergence point.”
The Embassy of Nigeria in Warsaw, Poland, in a public notice, had said officials and volunteers would be at the Polish-Ukrainian borders to pick up Nigerians.
It had therefore advised Nigerians crossing over to Poland to present 02-953, Kosiarzy 22B, 02-956 Warszawa as the destination address to the border officials.
“In light of the recent happenings in Ukraine; please be advised that for all Nigerians crossing over to Poland would have us waiting for them,” it said.
When SaharaReporters called the spokesperson for NIDCOM, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, for comments over the current plight of Nigerian nationals in Ukraine, he said the foreign ministry was working with relevant authorities to get help for stranded Nigerians.
The message reads, “IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The Nigerian Embassy in Romania wishes to inform Nigerians arriving from Ukraine that arrangement has been put in place to receive them at the Romanian entry points.
“The Embassy hotlines are:
Consular Officer +40747309174
Head of Chancery +40786091964.
“For those experiencing difficulties at the borders, Our Minister, His Excellency @GeoffreyOnyeama is currently engaging high authorities and the Organization for Migration to assist.”