‘Fighting in Ukraine is better than living under Buhari – Graduate Nigerian volunteer insists

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Upon learning about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month, Ottah Abraham, a 27-year-old Nigerian, expressed his displeasure.

He grabbed up his phone and sent out a tweet saying, “I want to join the team!”

He was living in a tiny flat in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest metropolis, some 8,700 kilometers (5,400 miles) distant from the front lines.

The philosophy graduate is one of several hundred Africans, hailing from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, and Algeria, who have stated that they are willing to fight in the battle against Russia, in part to escape the bleak futures that many young men in their home countries are experiencing.

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“We understand that this is a battle, and it is not a game for children,” he told the BBC. “However, becoming a soldier in Ukraine would be preferable than being a soldier here under Buhari.”

“I’ll most likely be permitted to remain after the battle is over, plus I’ll be a hero and be fighting an unstoppable foe,” says the soldier.

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Following Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s worldwide plea for foreign warriors to “come and stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians,” an estimated 20,000 volunteers from across the globe have allegedly registered in the Ukrainian military.

In exchange for people who have a valid passport and military training, the government would temporarily waive its visa rules and provide them with equipment and a wage. The possibility of foreign fighters remaining in the nation after the conflict has not been officially confirmed, despite repeated calls for them to do so.

Kereti Usoroh, a Nigerian who lives in the country’s capital, Abuja, said that his motives for volunteering had nothing to do with financial gain or the potential of becoming a citizen.

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“I’m already living a luxurious existence. ‘If I really wanted to travel to Europe, I’d go via school rather than through combat,’ said the 29-year-old lawyer.

In this case, it’s about putting up with a bully — wrong against one is injustice against all.”

In response to President Zelenksy’s request, scores of eager volunteers rushed to the Ukrainian embassy in Abuja with the aim of joining the Ukrainian military, according to President Zelenksy’s statements.


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