Buhari Pledges To Defend Nigeria As He Greets Ukrainian Returnees 

President Muhammadu Buhari has proclaimed that his administration would continue to defend Nigerians wherever they are.

This comes as Nigeria continues with the evacuation of citizens stranded in Ukraine after the invasion of the country by Russia.

Buhari declared this yesterday as he greeted the first and second batches of their fellow citizens who arrived from war-torn Ukraine.

As contained in a tweet, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri, confirmed that the “first batch of Nigerians from #Ukraine arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja from Romania at 7:10 am” yesterday.

Also, according to a statement by the Head of Media and Public Relations of NiDCOM in Abuja, Mr. Abdur-Rahman Balogun, the first batch numbering 450 were mostly students, adding that they arrived on Max Air flight 747.

The statement noted that the Federal Government donated to the returnees from Ukraine $100 to lessen their sufferings.

However, he said the evacuees from Poland could not be evacuated last Thursday because their flight was rescheduled for Friday.

He added that Air Peace had left last Thursday to pick the passengers from Hungary.

At 6:35pm yesterday, the second batch of the stranded Nigerians arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on an Air Peace flight to the delight of their family and friends. The 181 evacuees arrived from Poland.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gabriel Aduda, said the Federal Government had made all necessary arrangements to ensure that no Nigerian would be left stranded in any of the countries where they have fled to.

According to Aduda, Nigerian airlines – Air Peace and Max Air – would transport stranded Nigerians from Romania, Hungary and Poland.

Speaking last Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, at a Town Hall Meeting with a group of Nigerians resident in that country, President Buhari reassured of the administration’s commitment to the safety of Nigerians wherever they may reside.

“On our part as a government, we shall continue to defend the interests of all Nigerians wherever they may be. We have demonstrated this over time, as we have had cause to evacuate our citizens in harm’s way abroad. We did it in Libya, South Africa and we have just commenced doing the same in Ukraine, where thousands of our citizens, especially students, are trapped by the on-going war between Russia and Ukraine.” he said.

He applauded Nigerians in Kenya for the unity that prevails among them, and the peace they sustain with their host communities, encouraging them to respect the laws and be good ambassadors of Nigeria.

President Buhari, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, reiterated that it was the determination of the current administration to forge a partnership with the ‘Ambassadors-at large’ towards building the country together that led to the establishment of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).

He conveyed pleasure that the Commission had been committing the diasporans and had also come up with laudable programmes that would appeal to them.

Acording to the President, as part of his diasporan agenda, “we expect your willingness to give back to Nigeria some of your resources, talents, skills and global exposure in the development of our great country, Nigeria.”

Therefore, he urged the Ambassadors to key into the programmes of NiDCOM, especially the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund, whose mandate is holistic for all Nigerians abroad, adding that the platform would assist them to expeditiously contribute to the development of their fatherland.

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