The Federal Government has approved the sum of $8.5m for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in war-torn Ukraine, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, disclosed on Wednesday.
According to Dada, the sum which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari before jetting out to Kenya on a state visit, has been released to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Humanitarian, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
Dada who addressed State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, said three aircraft belonging to Air Peace and Max Air, would be dispatched to four countries, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, where the Nigerians would be picked up.
“Two flights from Air Peace and one from Max Air are expected to carry out the evacuation exercise.
“President Muhammadu Buhari had graciously approved the sum of $8.5m for the evacuation of the over 5,000 Nigerians, both registered and unregistered, who are currently stranded in Ukraine.
“All agencies are fully resourced to ensure that the aircrafts leave on Wednesday to begin the evacuation.
“The flights will embark on a number of shifts until the process is complete,” Dada said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gabriel Aduda, who also confirmed that the evacuation of the stranded Nigerians would commence on Wednesday, had given a breakdown of the number of Nigerians currently taking refuge in the four countries.
“So far, we have the following records of evacuees received by the Nigerian embassies in Hungary: 650 persons, Poland: 350 persons, Romania: 940 persons and Slovakia: 150 persons,” Aduda had told journalists after the FEC meeting.
“The first batch of evacuees is expected to arrive in Nigeria on March 3. Once again, we assure Nigerians that we are working round the clock to see that our citizens are brought back home safely,” Aduda said.