The Nigerian students trapped in Kherson, Ukraine, say their lives are in serious danger as Russian forces have taken over the town.
The Head of the International Student Union in Kherson, Jerry Kenny, who spoke on behalf of the students, said only ceasefire agreement between the two warring countries could make them leave the city unhurt.
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Kenny, in an interview with Channels TV on Monday morning, said the Kherson mayor advised the students to persuade the Nigerian government to seek a ceasefire so they could be evacuated.
When asked by the interviewer about the situations in Kherson now under the attack and control of Russia, Jerry said, “Now, we are not allowed to gain exit, that is, the green corridor because it has been captured by the Russian soldiers preventing the Ukrainian army invasion. So that’s why there is no green corridor.
“Moreover, the bombing, the sounds, the explosions are really terrible and now, no provisions; medical aids are limited because they (medics) attend to the casualties in the hospitals first. So for you that is very sick with a cold, you have no option but to stay indoors and look for possible means to help yourself in terms of treatment.”
Kenny further lamented that many personalities and bodies had contacted him without rendering any help eventually.
He stated, “It has been a very terrible situation and I’ve been doing this all alone until two days back when some NGOs (non-governmental organisations) contacted me because I stopped receiving calls from some people because everybody will just call you and they ask how you’re doing even when they know the situation is critical and nobody is doing anything.
“So for now, I will say there is some improvement in terms of the people that are coming on board to see how they can evacuate us here from Kherson because most of the Nigerian students (are trapped). Six of them are sick as we speak and I take care of their welfare to ensure they are fine not with the help of anybody but with the help of God and the little strength that I have to render.
“As at this week, we had some development. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyema, called me and he gave us hope that very soon, we will be evacuated from Kherson.”
The student leader also said he had sent out videos to some groups, indicating the critical situation he and co-students were going through but their complaints were not taken seriously.
He added, “Nothing is happening and it’s really terrible. For you to know how it is, like when these guys were sick, I had to risk and go out to get them pills because after the doctors checked them, they found out that they are really suffering from cold. I took the responsibility and went out, risking my life and that is to let Nigerians know how terrible it is.
“I’ve been able to speak with the Mayor of Kherson and I approached the commander in charge of Kherson. He told me this issue is from the top and we need to communicate. We were told that the (Nigerian) government needs to liaise with the Russian people and also the Ukrainian people and they will come into an agreement for a ceasefire.
“When this is done, we know we are safe and the next thing for us to do is to try and evacuate during that period of time. I’ve been able to get the numbers of people, I have not only Nigerians in my stock but I’m speaking for Nigerians in my custody. I will try all my best possible to ensure that all students are safe but now, there is little to be done so all these people need to come in contact with the Russia and Ukrain for them to cease fire. Without that, I’m not sure there’s anything we can do.”