Abdulfatai Abdulsalami, Sokoto
Twenty-two Nigerian students from Sokoto state and their colleagues from other states of the country studying in beleaguered Ukraine will soon exit the country and return home safely.
Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state arising from a zoom meeting he set up between the trapped students and their worried parents at Government House, Sokoto, on Saturday, pledged not to rest on his oars until all the students have left Ukraine currently under attack by Russia.
Prior to today’s zoom meeting, the state security council meeting was convened yesterday by the Governor with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar in attendance.
According to Gov. Tambuwal during today’s zoom meeting, the state government is in touch with the Nigerian embassy in Ukraine and the federal government.
He added that the state Ministry of Finance has been directed to send money to the stranded students, who said they needed about $200-$300 to cater for their immediate needs.
Equally, he assured the students and parents that
Nigerian officials, including uniformed attaches, have been stationed at the border of Romania to receive the students arriving the Ukraine.
These officials, he explained, upon receiving the students, would profile them, provide them with accommodation and feeding for 24 hours and subsequently arrange further transits for them.
The Governor shared a communication from the
the incumbent Chairman/CEO of Nigerian in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, that useful information on how students should organize themselves. will be sent to a platform he has created and monitors constantly.
He also prayed for the safe return of the students and admonished them not to panic but raise concerns through the same platform if there is any emergency or concerns.
“The state government shall continue to do what we have to do. Personally, I won’t abandon our students and their parents at this time or anytime in the future,” the Governor pledged.
“God willing (Insha Allah), you will be safe and come back to us safely,” he said, taking note of the reach out to some parents by the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO), that he will contact the international agencies if need be.
He apologized.and expressed worry that such a meeting wasn’t held yesterday because of some exigencies of state and miscommunication.
In their contributions during the zoom meeting, some of the Sokoto students trapped in Ukraine by Russia’s belligerence asked the state government to quickly evacuate them as the chances of their leaving the country will soon evaporate if the situation gets worse.
Aisha Kabir told the Governor and the audience that “the situation in Kharkiv, is a bit bad.
“We are still hearing some shootings. Although, there are arrangements to drive us by bus towards Romania, but the drivers are afraid they might be attacked. We feel that the train station are a bit safer and the railways a better way to move out,” she said.
Another student on scholarship from Sokoto state, Shuaibu Muhammad, said they were witnessing some challenges in Krakow, Poland, where the state Scholarship Board has been in touch with them since the beginning of the crisis.
But, the camps there are no longer safe, what with lack of food and deteriorating sanitary conditions, he narrated.
He said although some of them have been advised to move to safe places at Krakow, “the journey from Lviv-Krakow is about 12 hours; and, many of us do not have anyone to communicate with upon arrival.”
Other challenges the students said they were facing include: cold weather, lack of adequate clothing dearth of blanket and the throng of Nigerians scrambling to leave as well.
Fatima Zarah Ibrahim, who expressed fear that she heard that there will be no movement of foreigners out of Lviv as from tomorrow, emphasized: “Kharkhiv is a danger zone” and that it is not safe to depart Lviv by bus.
But it was a cheering news that came from Huzaifa Habib, studying in Zaporizhia, who told the meeting that he and his colleagues- Nigerians, Moroccans, Indians and Ukrainians, were already being evacuated via a train to Poland.
Zara again corroborated Habib, saying that: they have learnt that the embassy in Romania has finished arrangements to receive them. But “our only major concern is anxiety. We just want to leave,” she said.
In their various interventions during the zoom session, parents of some of the entrapped students lauded both the federal government and the Sokoto state government for their concerted efforts to bring back their wards and children.
Amb. Kabir, a retired diplomat who gave kudos to the two tiers of government informed the meeting that “enough counselor officers and immigration attaches are in Romania waiting for the students.”
“Any of them that arrives Krakow will be profiled, fed and accommodated for 24 hours,” he said, pleading with the Sokoto State government and the apex government to work in synergy on the issue.
One after the other, the parents expressed delight that everything is being done to bring the students back promptly
They applauded Gov. Tambuwal and the state government for his “prompt response, emphaty and sympathy,” appealing to the students to be cautious as they exit the war zone by avoiding dubious entreaties made to them.
“Avoid Dr Albert because he may be a scam. Stick to the numbers given to you on the Governor’s platform,” a doctorate holder female mother urged the students.
She added that all of them should organize themselves and “support each other.”
“Don’t wait for the last train. No one should be left behind,” she further added, while suggesting that all the students should be helped by all food willing national and international organizations.
Aliyu Dalhatu Zuru, another parent at the meeting
said: “parents are :happy with the way things went today. It is a pleasant news that the students are moving out. Our initial fear has evaporated.
The zoom meeting lasted for about an hour.