Monday, March 7, 2022

Nigerians blocked from volunteering to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia

The Nigerian government on Monday said it will not tolerate the recruitment of its citizens as mercenaries to support Ukraine fighting Russia.

Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry spokesman Francisca Omayuli in a statement said Nigeria is in talks with Ukrainian counterparts to forestall such an occurrence.

“As a responsible member of the international community and consistent with our obligations under international law, Nigeria discourages the use of mercenaries anywhere in the world and will not tolerate the recruitment, in Nigeria, of Nigerians as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine or anywhere in the world,” Omayuli said.

“The Federal Government will continue to engage with the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria and other relevant authorities to prevent this possibility.”

Nigeria’s opposition to hiring its citizens to fight Russia in Ukraine comes days after media reports suggested that Nigerian volunteers were being drafted for the ongoing war.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky last week called on foreign nationals who are “friends of peace and democracy” to travel to the country to fight against the Russian invasion.

“Anyone who wants to join the defence of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight side by side with the Ukrainians against the Russian war criminals,” Zelensky said.

About 115 Nigerians volunteered to join the Ukrainian forces after Zelensky made the call.

But Omayuli said Nigeria will prevent Nigerians from volunteering as mercenaries in the European country despite media reports that Nigerians were asked to pay $1000 for visas and travel tickets before they could be allowed to volunteer.

The Nigerian official, however, said the Ukraine Embassy refuted the reports that any money was demanded from Nigerian volunteers.

“Furthermore, the Embassy clarified that the Ukrainian government is not admitting foreign volunteer fighters and as such dissociated itself from the claim that it is requesting $1,000 from each Nigerian volunteer for air ticket and visa,” Omayuli said.

By Dennis Erezi

The Guardian

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