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Nigeria condemns treatment of Africans trying to flee Ukraine

As Russia continues invading its neighboring country of Ukraine, the Nigerian government has condemned how thousands of its students and citizens fleeing the war in Ukraine have been treated.

Concerns have been mounting that African students are being subjected to discrimination by security officials and are being denied entry into Poland for sanctuary.

Reports and footage posted on social media in the last week has shown how African, Asian, and Caribbean citizens, many of whom were studying in Ukraine, have been treated while trying to flee Ukrainian cities and at some of the border posts of the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people are attempting to escape the country while the number of civilian casualties and the amount of destruction continue to grow. According to the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, over half a million people have left Ukraine since the Russian invasion started last week.

On Monday, the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, said, “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,” pointing to reports that Ukrainian police had been obstructing Nigerians.

“From video evidence, first-hand reports, and from those in contact with Nigerian consular officials, there have been unfortunate reports of Ukrainian police and security personnel refusing to allow Nigerians to board buses and trains heading towards Ukraine-Poland border,” he added.

In response to those having troupe to leave Ukraine, support groups have sprung up across WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook by multiple people who are advocating for additional assistance and by other students who have been attempting to leave.

Government officials from both Ukraine and Poland, though, have said that all refugees are welcome, noting that border officials are currently working through hundreds of thousands of cases.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: GLOBALCITIZEN.ORG

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