The House of Representatives says it will give every needed support to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to begin the evacuation of Nigerians back from Ukraine.
The Speaker Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, stated this when he invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, to his office in Abuja for a meeting on the plight of Nigerians caught in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Mr Gbajabiamila, while commending the ministry for the steps taken so far to ensure the safety of Nigerians, the majority of who are students, however, stated that the country must find ways to quicken its response time to emergencies.
He noted that response mechanisms, including funds, aeroplanes and other equipment, must readily be on standby to respond to life-threatening situations such as the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and how they affected Nigerians.
“We must be in a state of readiness at all times. We should have our own planes and necessary funding to respond quickly to such emergencies”, the Speaker stated.
He stated that measures the National Assembly would take included legislation to address such emergencies and supplementary appropriations among others.
The Minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, while giving the Speaker a situation report, reassured him that things were under control in Ukraine, as the Federal Government had put necessary arrangements in place to ensure the safe return of Nigerians.
He disclosed that in the last few days, the ministry in conjunction with the missions had completed formalities for Nigerians to move to safe border points from where they would be transported in buses to the airports in neighbouring countries.
He listed Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and even Russia, among the countries to be used as exit points.
The minister, who said there were about 5,600 Nigerian students in Ukraine, added that there were also non-students, some of whom might not have been legally documented.
According to him, the first batch of the air-lifting is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday this week.
The Minister, added that the evacuation, earlier planned for Monday, was rescheduled for Wednesday to give enough room for the ministry, the House and the Nigerian foreign missions in Ukraine, Poland and Russia to complete the formalities of moving Nigerians from inside Ukraine to safe borders with neighbouring countries.