By Bianca Iboma-Emefu

Some Nigerian students who were rescued from the Ukraine-Russian crisis are experiencing mental trauma. The students, who preferred to speak anonymously, said the experience they had was terrifying.

According to them, on arrival, they had thought there would be some sort of scholarship for them to continue their education, but the system in the country is even worse than they left it.

Narrating their experiences, the students stated that the treatment meted on them and other black refugees was harsh, as some of their travel documents were forcefully confiscated and they equally signed documents without a language translator.

Ikenna (real name withheld) said when the war began, they could not even hear a door open without many of them running. “It was frightening and what came to our mind in the midst of the challenge was to go home. We wanted to go home though we were in pains. Many of us, after this incident, may not be able to live normally again,” he said.

Another female student said, while in school, they held a peaceful protest within the school premises when it was rumoured that the school would not allow them leave the premises.

“Another one said she was in the kitchen trying to prepare food when a bomb exploded and shook the whole area, leaving her scampering for safety.

“We started calling on everybody to help us. We were stranded. We were appealing to everyone to help us,” she said.

A male student equally shared his ordeal, stating that, before the humanitarian corridor was opened, they were scared to death, as several explosions took place before they exited the place and finally  moved to Nigeria.

The students explained that it was a lie that many of them do not want to return to Nigeria, saying that they were stuck in Sumy without power, water and food.

“It was not our war. Any single extra second spent there was a danger to all of us,” they noted.

Meanwhile, Nigeria-Diaspora Ambassador and Global NGO Executive Commitee (GNEC) leader, Olasubomi Iginla-Aina, has offered 75 per cent scholarship to female Nigerian/African students and 50 per cent scholarship to male Nigerian/African students, who were victims of the Ukrainian war.

Iginla-Aina said the majority of refugees of colour from Ukraine happen to be young people who relocated to Ukraine to study and she needed to do something for humanity’s sake.

She said: “This students need to be engaged so they don’t fall into depression. I want to appeal to private institutions in Nigeria to offer those who have returned home scholarship so that their minds can be engaged. Most of them cannot afford to pay, and may not want public universities.”

Iginla-Aina became more actively involved in  the rescue of trapped victims, especially Nigerian students, who made it to the border countries surrounding Ukraine.

Iginla-Aina narrated her encounter with war victims, which made her swing into action: “In view of the recent Ukraine crisis, I commenced an independent tour to European nations that share borders with Ukraine. The reason for this is to ensure that refugees of colour receive the necessary support they require, to help identify their needs and see how these needs can be met as a matter of urgency.

“However, my involvement majorly centred on youths and the disadvantaged. The majority of refugees of colour from Ukraine happen to be young people who relocated to Ukraine to study.

“I witnessed the evacuation of Nigerian students from Poland to Nigeria while also becoming involved with food distribution services alongside Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation Poland.

“Furthermore, at Slovakia, I identified the need to raise funds to support the work. So, I immediately cancelled my travel ticket and got in touch with the media and, as a result of this singular action, the Redeemed Christian Church of God assisting the refugees got a lot of visibility for their work and by the time I was leaving Slovakia people and organisations started to donate funds and various items to the victims.

“On arrival at Hungary, I was informed that evacuations had taken place; the Nigerian government had already evacuated some citizens while many still awaited evacuation and support.”

“Again, there was a need to raise funds for the church assisting some of the youths, students who took refuge in the church premises. So, we commenced fundraising and I also invited the press to beam their spotlight on this, and, soon, they started to receive funds gradually from people.

“I visited another unit in Hungary where refugees were being supported. This, again, was a church and I understand that they are receiving funding support already. The church was majorly managed by Ghanaians who were all volunteers,” she volunteered.

Iginla-Aina encouraged the students not to lose hope, and some of them said they were not returning due to personal family issues: things like money that was raised through family and other issues. She said they would be given scholarship, for males, it is 50 per cent, and females, 75 per cent.

Also, a pregnant woman who had fled the war gave birth to a baby alongside her toddler, and they were rescued and kept safe.

She further said: “The experience in Germany is one that I need to clarify. Black refugees were asked to sign documents forcefully that they were seeking asylum; some said they were bullied and manipulated into signing a document written in German language. A lot of them didn’t know what they were signing. Some got home to discover that they had just signed to seek asylum, which is not in their best interest because their home country is not at war.

“Such an application is highly unlikely to be approved because they had an option to return to their home country. I was quite disappointed to hear this because the young people were not duly informed on the various options they had and so they were all agitated. I immediately requested that they set up a WhatsApp group where we can all be communicating important information. And we equally assisted some of them to recover their document before I moved into Ukraine to rescue orphans.”

Iginla-Aina added that hundreds of them were psychologically traumatised, crying for help.

“These children were stranded without food and water while under attack from bombs and bullets.

“I cannot comprehend the suffering of this orphans as they plead for safety. A lot of them were caught up in this war. So, imagine the suffering of the children, who are totally alone.”

She pointed that the helpless and bewildered orphans were crammed into a basement as  bombardment echoed all around them.

According to her, “Babies, six to a cot, lie unaware of the horrors that have condemned Ukraine to a living hell. Toddlers sit compliantly, cajoled by carers doing their best to maintain some calm amid the madness.

“The sad scene in Kyiv, Ukrainian capital. I met a Ukrainian woman taking care of 41 orphans with her siblings. The woman and her siblings are giving their support to ensure that the kids whose parents have been killed as victims of war are kept safe and provided for.

“At the moment, her husband is at war, yet she was determined not to leave Ukraine, despite being unsafe, in order to care for children who became orphans as result of war.

“Report has equally revealed Ukraine having the most orphans currently in Europe and hundreds were already in care. But each day, more need help as war claims the lives of their parents.

“We are trying to offer humanitarian support to these children who do not have parents due to the war. The Ukrainian group assisting to keep the orphans safe, feeding the children and ensuring that none of them goes hungry.

“Countless children have been evacuated from the areas of the worst fighting. Yet a lot of them are stranded. We try to find foster families for these orphans.”

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Source: news