June 13, 2024

Report on forced conscription of Nigerian students fake  — Russian Embassy



By Tunde Oso (with additional agency reports)

The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria has debunked reports of forced enrollment of Nigerian students in Russia into the Russian military before their visas are renewed.

A statement by the embassy on Wednesday was a response to a report published by Bloomberg on Monday detailing how Russia is allegedly forcing African students to join in the fight against Ukraine before getting a renewal for their visas.

Bloomberg had reported that Russia is allegedly sending thousands of migrants and foreign students, including Nigerians, to fight alongside its troops in the war against Ukraine in exchange for visa renewal.

The newspaper quoted European officials claiming that Russia is using coercive tactics to recruit Africans and other foreign nationals, threatening not to extend their visas unless they join the military.

“Some Africans in Russia on work visas have been detained and forced to decide between deportation or fighting,” Bloomberg quoted a European official.

The Nigerian government debunked the report in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late Tuesday, saying it was in touch with the student body in Russia.

Reacting, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria said it “has noticed with bewilderment the publication of articles on June 10 in several Nigerian media outlets. These articles, citing the dubious American news agency Bloomberg, which has a history of spreading anti-Russian fake news, alleged that African students, particularly those from Nigeria, are being coerced into fighting for Russia in exchange for visa extensions.”

“The Embassy of the Russian Federation is compelled to emphasise that such news is not only false but also damages Russian-Nigerian educational cooperation by misleading numerous scholarship and grant applicants as well as their partners, who could be extremely concerned by such fakes.”