- by E. Nriezedi
- 1:06 PM May 18, 2022
…as House sponsors exercise, may engage Air Peace
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerian students in Ukraine over the looming war between world powers in the eastern European country.
Gbajabiamila issued the order based on a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member of the House, Ahmed Munir, at the plenary on Thursday.
After the unanimous of the motion titled ‘Urgent Importance to Evacuate Nigerian Students in Ukraine,’ the Speaker asked the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yakub, to leave Nigeria by Friday and bring back stranded Nigerian students by Monday at the cost of the House.
Gbajabiamila said, “This is a very important motion that we discussed. Time is of the essence. A state of emergency has been declared. I listened to the news yesterday; even America said it is not going to be bloodless. We should be more proactive and I think it is better late than never.
“It is important at this point to forget all the bureaucratic bottlenecks and look out for our citizens, especially students. Action needs to be taken now and my thought is that leader of the House, Hon. Ado Doguwa and Chairman (of the Committee on) Foreign Affairs should liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NIA (Nigerian Intelligence Agency) and (Nigerian) Embassy in Ukraine.
“And if nothing positive comes out of it, then we should liaise with Chairman of Air Peace (Allen Onyema). Whatever it is going to cost the House, you need to leave this country, latest tomorrow, and come back on Monday with many of our students.”
Moving the motion earlier, Munir noted that there is a worsening conflict between Russia and the United States of America over Ukraine, of which the situation is deteriorating by the hour.
The lawmaker also noted that Nigeria has a significant number of undergraduate and graduate students currently studying in Ukraine, of which a number of them are under government scholarships, in addition to a number of Nigerian diplomats and their families in the Kyiv Embassy and Nigerian expatriates across Ukraine.
He said, “The House is concerned that if a strategic plan is not put in place to secure and provide safe passage for our citizens, they may be trapped or worse, harmed.”
Munir prayed the House to mandate its Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Affairs, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to “ascertain the exact figures of Nigerians affected by this conflict and put in place a comprehensive monitoring, evaluation and evaluation mechanism.”