NIGERIA Diaspora Commission (Nidcom) chairperson Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa has condemned the Polish government for detaining Nigerians and other African students who fled to their country from war-torn Ukraine in search of refuge.
Speaking in Abuja, Hon Dabiri-Erewa expressed displeasure over the development, saying it was wrong and traumatic. She was a speaker at the commencement of a two-day psychosocial trauma clinic for Ukraine returnees organised by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Nidcom and Project Victory Call Initiative, known as PVC-Naija.
Hon Dabiri-Erewa said: “Some Africans and Nigerians decided not to return home, so now, the Polish authorities are going around and capturing blacks and putting them in detention camps. So, those Nigerians who refused to return are at a risk and some of them are in detention centres in Poland and they are in a traumatic condition.
“However, in as much as Nigeria has given them the opportunity to come back home and they refused, it does not mean the Polish authority will grab them and put them in detention centres. The federal government is now calling on the Polish authorities to release the blacks in their custody.
”It is not right for them to detain the blacks because they decided to take cover in their country. They are not putting the whites in those detention centres, so, send them back to their countries instead of capturing them in detention centres which is the height of racism in a war situation.”
Fehintola Moses, the president of the Nigerian Students Union in Ukraine, said he appreciated the federal government, especially the foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama, whom he said personally reached out to him during the course of the repatriation. He equally commended the Nidcom chair and the national refugee commission for their efforts in ensuring that Nigerian students were safely ferried back home.
PVCI convener, Dr Bolaji Akinyemi, said four psychologists were mobilised from Plateau and Sokoto states for the first phase of the programme. He added that trauma has become a part of the lives our lives and when we are faced with the triggers we need to nip it in the bud, which was the reason for the programme.