Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Europe chapter (NIDO-E), has appealed to people to be circumspect with information published online to ensure safety of citizens.
Dr Bashir Obasekola, Chairman, NIDO Europe Chapter, made the appeal during a forum held in Moscow, Russia, and monitored online by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday.
The forum was organised by NIDO Russia Chapter with the theme, “Russia-Ukraine Situation: Impact on Nigerians in Russia/Europe and Bilateral Relations.”
Obasekola noted that NIDO leveraged its network across Europe to provide support and assisted many Nigerians fleeing Ukraine to ensure their safety.
He, however, said that some Nigerians were still trapped in Ukraine, noting that they need moral and psychological support till relief gets to them.
According to him, it is now risky to cross the border due to unverified information of recruitment of foreign mercenaries for the war.
“We pray that none of our citizens will be caught in that crossfire of being mistaken for mercenary,” he said.
Obasekola said they were surprised at the news of some people going to the Ukraine Embassy in Nigeria seeking opportunities to join the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.
He described the step as a wrong signal that might expose Nigerians in Diaspora to danger of being suspected as mercenaries.
The NIDO chairman, therefore, advised the public to be cautious with their moves and information they publish online.
He commended the Federal Government for evacuating about 2,000 Nigerians, noting that measures were being put in place to evacuate more from Ukraine.
Obasekola said that NIDO would continue to provide support to government in ensuring the safe evacuation of Nigerians.
Also, Dr Rex Essenowo, Former Chairman, NIDO Russia Chapter, said Nigerians in Diaspora had faced lots of crises in the past, but noted that the current crisis was different from others.
Essenowo said the forum presented a platform for Nigerians in Russia to brainstorm on opportunities emanating from the crisis amid various sanctions.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite the inauguration of the Diasporan Committee Board to enable more participation that would enhance socio-economic development.
Similarly, Mr Sampson Uwem-Edimo, Chairman, NIDO Russia, said some Russian banks are seeking opportunities to partner with Nigerian banks to enhance the financial industry.
Uwem-Edimo noted that a Russian health facility had indicated interest in establishing a Cancer centre in Nigeria, saying the Nigerian Ministry of Health was working out the modalities.
According to him, a Russian pharmaceutical firm is also willing to set up an office in Nigeria to deepen the trade and investment between both countries.
He said that in spite of the crisis, there are still many opportunities to deepen Russia-Nigeria bilateral cooperation.
Also, Prof. Abdullahi Yibaikwal, Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, said that Russian Government had pledged to provide the necessary assistance to ensure the safety and well-being of Nigerian citizens in Russia.
Yibaikwal said that the Russian Ministry of Education had offered admissions to Nigerians who want to continue their education in Russia.
He said that the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine had worsened humanitarian issues, thus called for speedy resolution through diplomatic dialogue. (NAN)