Ukraine/Russia Conflict: The Consequences For Nigeria


The tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated to new heights on Thursday, 24 February when Russian President, Vladimir Putin announced military actions in Ukraine in what he specifically described as a “special military operation”. This development comes after weeks of inconclusive negotiations and imposed sanctions that failed to deter the Russian Government.

While U.S President, Joe Biden has urged his country’s nationals to immediately exit Ukraine for their safety, the Nigerian government through the embassy informed its citizens in Ukraine to be responsible for their security and safety. No palpable plans have been made for the evacuation of Nigerians in the country.

The threat of a Russian attack and inevitable reprisals from Ukraine, NATO, and allies portend consequences for Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora.


Photo from Nairametrics

Nigerians form a sizeable resident population in Ukraine, largely constituted by Students of various higher institutions in the country. Although by the end of 2021 there were conspicuous threats of a Russian invasion on Ukraine, however visible plans have not been made by the Nigerian Government to evacuate its young migrant citizens. The lack of evacuation plans was further confirmed by the Nigerian Embassy when they urged Nigerian nationals’ residents in Ukraine through Twitter “to remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety”.

This wouldn’t be the first time, Nigerian residents in Ukraine have been stuck in troubled regions. Back in 2014, it was reported that about Three hundred and fifty Nigerian students were trapped in Donetsk and Lugansk, prompting the Ukrainian ministry of education and science to request all Nigerian students undergoing courses in higher institutions in the troubled regions to urgently detail and year of study to either the ministry of foreign affairs, East and Central European affairs division, Abuja or Nigerian embassy in Kyiv. This was done to enable a safe transfer of students to safer regions in the country.

Similar evacuation efforts are expected to be replicated in this scenario through the concerted efforts of the Ukrainian Government and the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, it is fair to expect a sizeable number of returnees from Ukraine until the tensions subside.


Photo from Premium Times

The escalating hostility has created a global panic concerning the possibility of limited oil supply which subsequently occasioned the highest price level of Brent crude in seven years. Russia doubles as the world’s second-highest oil producer after Saudi Arabia and biggest global gas supplier, making any disruption in its oil supply chain powerful enough to raise global gas prices and diminish supplies, especially to Europe where it is responsible for about 35% of its supply. Currently, at the time of this article Brent Crude is selling internationally at 103$.

On the surface, the rising price of oil, Nigeria’s biggest cash cow should be good news for the Country’s struggling economy; reminiscent of the Iranian revolution of 1979 and the Iraq-Iran conflict of 1980 which contributed to Nigeria’s oil boom occasioning the increase of the price of crude oil from a $14 per barrel in 1979 to $35 per barrel in 1981, the Russian-Ukraine conflict is expected to benefit the Nigerian economy, however, the extent of these benefits are susceptible to its poor management structure, limited production output, burdening fuel subsidy and potential switch by global consumers to alternative sources of energy generation. 

It is expected for fuel subsidy to cost Nigeria N3 trillion in 2022, this coupled with the Country’s inability to escalate production to meet the quota allocated by OPEC, there are little gains to be expected from the increase in Brent prices.


Photo from Channels TV

Nigeria maintains cordial diplomatic relationships with both Russia and Ukraine. Russia and Nigeria have cooperated in joint ventures to exploit Nigeria’s vast gas reserves, also when the United States of America (USA) refused to sell weapons to Nigeria to combat Boko Haram insurgents and subsequently canceled the military training agreements entered into with Nigeria, on the allegations of human right abuses by the Nigerian Military, the Nigerian government turned its gaze to Russia for training and supply of military hardware.

In 2017, The then Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Valerii Aleksandruk, affirmed that Nigeria was the country’s biggest business partner in Africa.

Diplomatically, Nigeria is expected to stay neutral in the conflict or play any role it can in achieving diplomacy between the two European countries.

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