Federal Govt Debunks Reports, Says No Nigerian Students Forced to Fight in Ukraine War



The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has faulted reports suggesting that Nigerian students in Russia were being coerced into joining the ongoing conflict with Ukraine in exchange for visa renewals.

According to Bloomberg’s Monday report, Russia purportedly sought to enlist thousands of migrants and foreign students to reinforce its troops in the war against Ukraine, adopting tactics similar to those employed by the Wagner mercenary group.

European officials reportedly assessed this situation, claiming that the Kremlin was threatening not to extend visas for African students and young workers unless they agreed to join the military.

Yevgeny Primakov, head of Rossotrudnichestvo, an organisation focused on spreading knowledge about Russia abroad, estimated that there are currently 35,000-37,000 African students in Russia.

In response to these allegations, the Ministry refuted them as “false and misleading,” as reported by several Nigerian media outlets on June 10, 2024.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Ambassador Eche Abu-Obe, in a statement on Tuesday, emphasised that there have been no reported cases of Nigerian or other African students being conscripted into the conflict.

The ministry urged media outlets to exercise due diligence in verifying information before disseminating it to the public.

“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to news articles published by several Nigerian media outlets on Monday, June 10, 2024, informing the public that the Russian Government is engaging Nigerian and other African students to participate in the ongoing war with Ukraine with the promise of visa renewals.

“The Ministry wishes to inform that the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow is in close communication with the executives of the Nigerian Students Association in Moscow, Russia and there has not been any reported case of conscription of Nigerian students nor indeed of other African students to fight in the aforementioned war.

“The newspaper reports are, therefore, false and misleading and should therefore be disregarded. The Ministry wishes to seize this occasion to appeal to media outlets to exercise due diligence in the line of duty by verifying information at their disposal before releasing it to the public.”

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