Nigerians fleeing war-torn Ukraine have lamented persistent denial of entry into Poland despite assurances from foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Nigerians in Ukraine who made frantic efforts to leave the country following attacks from the Russian Federation met heavy resistance at the Polish border by security operatives who gave priority to Ukrainians.
A video posted by @nzekiev on Twitter showed gun-wielding officers pointing their rifles at persons screaming “We are students” with raised hands.
“Watch how they are threatening to shoot us!
We are currently at the Ukraine -Poland border.
Their Police and Army refused to let Africans cross they only allow Ukrainian. Some have slept here for 2 days under this scorching cold weather, while many have gone back to Lviv,” tweeted the fleeing Nigerian.
He continued, “They actually wanted to crush us with their bus, and even pointed guns at us while we were shouting “we are students, allow us to cross” because we didn’t allow them to cross their people first before us. We forced our way in, and they gave up. I have these on video record.”
In the same vein, BBC correspondent Stephanie Hegarty confirmed that Africans in Ukraine were being denied access to trains going to the border.
“Hearing from another student in Lviv this morning who says Africans are not being allowed to board trains to the border are being left on platform. Too many testimonies now to discount. #AfricansinUkraine”
Mr Onyeama on Saturday had said that he raised the issue with the Polish Ambassador to Nigeria, Joanna Tarnawska, and had been assured that the situation would be addressed. However, the denial of entry persists despite the assurance.
The persistent denial may have prompted Mr Onyeama’s call to Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister who “asserted that Ukrainian border guards have been instructed to allow all foreigners to leave.”
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reverted to state: “It’s official: no restrictions for foreign nationals to leave the country exist. Problem is the result of chaos on the border and check points leading to them,” wrote Mr Onyeama.
The minister said he was coordinating missions in Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Romania and Hungary to ensure the safety of Nigerians.
“I am personally coordinating with our missions in Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Romania and Hungary to ensure we get our citizens out of Ukraine and bring back to Nigeria those ready to return, while supporting those who are remaining in Ukraine.”