Ukraine has demanded US$1 000 per person from Nigerians who have volunteered to join the war against the Russians invading the country. The demand for US$1 000 comes after hundreds of Nigerians flocked to the Ukrainian Embassy in Abuja offering their services to fight against the Russians.
Following the surge in Nigerians volunteering to travel to Ukraine to fight in the war, Bohdan Soltys, the embassy’s second secretary, revealed the stunning requirements. According to Soltys, the volunteers must provide US$1 000 for a flight ticket to Ukraine and Visas.
He said that the money will be used to secure Visas to allow the Nigerian fighters to pass through other European countries since Ukraine’s airspace has been closed off.
In an interview with Punch newspaper, Soltys said,
“It is normal practice when people want to volunteer and join the army of another country. It is a normal international practice. Of course, for us, it is an expression of support which we really appreciate. For now, no one has gone. We have received hundreds of applications from people who said they are willing. We have sent lists to the government, but I cannot tell you what will happen next.
“In this particular case, you cannot fly to Ukraine. The only way you can fly is to countries that border Ukraine. All these countries are part of the EU and Nigerians will need visas to visit these countries. So, it is a big obstacle. You cannot fly directly to Ukraine. You will have to go to Poland or Hungary.”
The Ukrainian official also said that the Nigerians should not focus on the money as his country is not interested in recruiting mercenaries.
“If a person wants to fight for Ukraine or any other country, only volunteers can do it. If Ukraine pays these people, they will be mercenaries and it violates international law… In general, when a person joins another country’s army, they pay the normal price that their soldiers are paid. This is how it works across the world. You come to fight because an injustice has been done,” he said
Ironically, while Nigerians are volunteering to fight in Ukraine, thousands of Africans trying to flee the Eastern country have complained about racism at the border.
In the past week, reports and footage on social media have shown acts of discrimination and violence against Africans at some of the country’s border posts. There are numerous reports of racial abuse occurring on the Ukrainian side of the border.
On Monday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said
“All who flee a conflict situation have the same right to safe passage under the UN convention and the colour of their passport or their skin should make no difference,” citing reports that Ukrainian police had obstructed Nigerians.
“From video evidence, first-hand reports, and from those in contact with … Nigerian consular officials, there have been unfortunate reports of Ukrainian police and security personnel refusing to allow Nigerians to board buses and trains heading towards Ukraine-Poland border,” he said.