32-yr-old Okafor said , I’ll rather remain a refugee than return to Nigeria

On Friday morning, the first group of over 400 Nigerians who escaped the ongoing crisis in Ukraine following the Russian incursion returned to the country, appreciative for the government’s assistance.

However, many more have pledged not to return to the country, citing concerns about what they would do if they did.

One of them, Nnamdi Okafor, who spoke to TheNiche in an exclusive chat on phone, Thursday, said he would rather die in Ukraine than return to Nigeria.

“What am I coming back to Nigeria to do? Has anything changed in our country,” the 32-year-old from Anambra State, queried.

Okafor who said he is an economic migrant to Ukraine said in a worst case scenario, he would leave Ukraine for any other country, but definitely not Nigeria.

Narrating his ordeal in Nigeria, Okafor who said he read engineering in a Nigerian polytechnic, said coming back to the country does not cross his mind at all.

“For now, I am still in Ukraine. I used to live in the capital city, Kyiv, but I have moved to one of the border towns which is relatively safe presently.

“But if the war reaches there, I will escape to another country by the grace of God. But if death becomes my destiny, so be it. I would rather remain here a refugee than return to Nigeria.”

Asked why he will not take advantage of the Nigerian government’s free evacuation and return home, he said life in Nigeria was pure hell not worth experiencing twice in one lifetime.

“My brother, the question you should have asked is why I left Nigeria in the first place. I came to Ukraine two years ago. Before I did, I had stayed in Nigeria for five years after my Youth Service without a job. My country psychologically abused me. I was frustrated and miserable. I almost lost hope in life. I was depressed.

“But it took me only two months to secure a good job when I came to Ukraine in early 2020. If not for this senseless war, life was beginning to have meaning for me once again.

“So, if I hop into the plane because I have seen a free flight, what happens after I come down in Abuja or Lagos or wherever? Has anything changed in Nigeria? Will I now get the job, lack of which forced me out?

“I am not coming back. This war will end one day. But if it doesn’t, we will decide what next to do. But coming back to Nigeria is out of it for now. And mind you, I am not the only one staying put. The students who were sent here by their rich parents to study may go home, but I doubt if any economic migrant like me will dare do that,” he concluded.

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