Nigeria insists that its citizens won't join the war in Ukraine as 'mercenaries'

2022-03-09 19:03:56
Nigeria insists that its citizens won't join the war in Ukraine as 'mercenaries'

Nigeria has pointed out that it does not support mercenaries and has advised its citizens not to join the war in Ukraine.

A group of Nigerians have offered to fight in Ukraine after the country called on foreign volunteers to join their fight against the Russian invasion, but the Nigerian government is not amused.

Nigeria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that despite Ukraine saying it didn't enlist any Nigerians, quite a number offered their services.

"The Ukrainian Embassy refuted (sic) the allegations but confirmed that several Nigerians had approached the Embassy indicating their willingness to fight on the side of Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia," said Francisca Omayuli, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last week, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs, called for an "International Legion of Territorial Defence", arguing that "together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, too".

Several days later, Kuleba posted a Facebook video in which he claimed that 16 000 foreign fighters were on their way to Ukraine, some from as far as Canada. This includes Canadian comedian Anthony Walker, who calls himself a "Temporary Ukrainian" on his Twitter handle @anthonycwalker.

For its part, Nigeria said it did not support mercenaries and advised its citizens not to join the war in Ukraine.

"As a responsible member of the international community, and consistent with our obligations under international law, Nigeria discourages the use of mercenaries anywhere in the world and will not tolerate the recruitment in Nigeria of Nigerians as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine or anywhere in the world," said Omayuli.

"The Federal Government will continue to engage with the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria and other relevant authorities to prevent this possibility."

This comes days after hundreds of African students in Ukraine complained they were treated badly as they queued up with the crowds trying to escape Russia's military operation. The Africans including Nigerians said they faced guns and hostile guards as they fled the war.

Representatives from several African governments — Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Gabon — have condemned the reports.

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