President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the maltreatment of Nigerians and Africans at the Ukraine-Poland border.
Video on social media showed Africans being relegated to the back of the queue and prevented from entering the train to Poland from Ukraine as some Nigerian students, including a mother with her baby, were forced to give up their seats for Ukraine citizens.
The President, in a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), said everyone should be treated equally in the face of war.
Part of the statement read: “While efforts to begin talks between Russia and Ukraine are underway, paramount on our minds is the safety and human rights of some four thousand Nigerian citizens and many others from friendly African nations today stranded in Ukraine
“There’s a long history dating back to decades of Nigerians and other Africans studying in Ukraine, particularly medicine. The majority of Nigerian citizens in the country today are university-enrolled students.
“From video evidence, first-hand reports, & from those in contact with their wardsor Nigerian consular officials there have been unfortunate reports of Ukrainian police and security personnel refusing to allow Nigerians to board buses & trains heading towards Ukraine-Poland border.
“In one video widely circulating on social media, a Nigerian mother, with her young baby, was filmed being physically forced to give up her seat to another person.
“There are also separate reports of Polish officials simply refusing Nigerian citizens’ entry into Poland from Ukraine.
“One group of Nigerian students having been repeatedly refused entry into Poland have concluded they have no choice but to travel again across Ukraine and attempt to exit the country via the border with Hungary.
“But, for that reason, it’s paramount that everyone is treated with dignity and without favour.
“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.”