Jude Nwachukwu, 36, is one of the many Nigerian students affected by the war in Ukraine.
He left home for the Eastern European country in 2019 to pursue a Master’s degree towards fulfilling his dream of “becoming a private investigator or crime scene investigator.”
Mr Nwachukwu was able to travel with the help of his elder sister, who gave him her ‘life savings’, and a religious group to which he belonged.
He envisaged no problem in paying back the loans as his agent had told him he would be able to combine his study with work. But on getting to Ukraine, he found things were different from what he had been led to expect.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, he said: “I borrowed money from my fellowship and from my sister too; she gave me the money with the hope that in future I would support her kids, almost four million. I used it to process my visa and paid my tuition and hostel fees.”
“My sister told me that she gave me all her savings, it was very painful for her to release that money and she said I should remember that they will be the ones calling me for money from that moment.”
It took him almost two years of being in Ukraine before he finally found a job as a forklift driver that paid him $500 (N211,000) a month. But shortly after that lucky break, the Russia-Ukraine war started on 24 February.
Almost seven months after the war began, most Nigerian students in Ukraine like Mr Nwachukwu have yet to find their way around the uncertainty brought about by the war.
Many of them say their schools have refused to release their transcripts or certificates to enable them to transfer to schools in other locations.
Mr Nwachukwu’s case was made worse by the loss of his credentials in Hungary after he fled Ukraine.
Unlike Mr Nwachukwu, Sandra (not her real name), a fourth year student at Uzhhorod National University, Ukraine, has all her documents intact but is also stuck as “it is almost impossible to get my original certificates and transcripts from the university.”
A second-year student of Kyiv Medical University, Mr Iheanyichukwu had fled Kyiv and travelled through Warsaw in Poland and Budapest in Hungary to Mainz, Germany.
In Mainz, he is without a job as he has not been issued a pass to work or even learn the language of the people.