Nigeria's government has condemned reports that its citizens, and those of other African countries, have been stopped from leaving war-torn Ukraine. One Nigerian man trying to get into Poland, said border staff told him that they were not tending to Africans.

"We've been chased back, we've been hit with police armed with sticks," he said. South African foreign office official Clayson Monyela also said students had been badly treated at the border.


There have also been numerous reports of Ukrainian security officials preventing Africans from catching buses and trains going to the border

Nigerian native, Osemen, said he had tried to get on a train in Lviv to take him to the Polish border but was told only Ukrainians would be allowed on board. Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said there were about 4,000 Nigerians in Ukraine, mostly students.

He said one group had repeatedly been refused entry to Poland so they travelled back into Ukraine to head for Hungary instead. "All who flee a conflict situation have the same right to safe passage under the UN Convention, and the colour of their passport or their skin should make no difference." Mr Buhari said in a tweet.

One Nigerian University student – who is studying medicine in Kharkiv, in the east of the country - walked for 11 hours overnight before she arrived at the Medyka crossing with Poland. She says she was told by armed guards to wait as Ukrainians had to be let through first. After waiting for many hours, she was finally allowed to cross and made her way to Warsaw to fly back to Nigeria.

Another African, a medical student, from Somalia, who is studying in Kyiv, had a similar account. When she finally reached Poland, she said she was told "accommodation at the hotel was only for Ukrainians".

The Polish border force said that everyone fleeing conflict in Ukraine was being welcomed into Poland regardless of nationality. Nigeria's Foreign Minister Geofrey Onyeama said he had spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and had been assured that Ukrainian border guards had been given an order to allow all foreigners leaving Ukraine to pass without restrictions.

Nigeria's ministry of foreign affairs has now advised its citizens leaving Ukraine to head for Hungary or Romania, rather than trying to enter Poland. The Nigerian ambassador to Romania said that so far about 200 Nigerians - mostly students - have arrived in the capital Bucharest from Ukraine.

It was said that many more were still arriving.