MTN, in partnership with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), has offered 5000 evacuated returnees displaced by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war more humanitarian aid to ease their premature return to the country.
“1,199 have been evacuated so far from Ukraine,” NIDCOM announced in a Twitter post on March 11, 2022.
“Returnees are also getting a free SIM card loaded with 5,000 Naira airtime to allow them reach their family members courtesy of a partnership between NiDCOM and MTN, and 100 dollars transport fare from the Federal Government of Nigeria.” the statement continued.
Sources reveal the returnees will be getting free MTN SIMs with an XtraTalk bundle worth N19,500 talk time and 1.5GB of data. This follows the company offering free international calls and SMS to all existing prepaid and post-paid customers on March 2, 2022.
Recall that MTN had announced free international calls and SMS to all existing prepaid and post-paid customers, which was aimed at supporting customers to stay in touch with their loved ones while eliminating associated IDD costs due to high ITR to Ukraine. Each existing active subscriber on the network would receive 30 mins of free voice calls and 50 free SMS. The offer would be valid all through the month of March and customers would be able to check minutes/SMS allocated, volume used, balance and expiry date. Unused complimentary minutes will expire on 31st March or on any earlier date as advised across all phone numbers and will not rollover.
In response to the humanitarian crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of $8.5 million to facilitate the immediate evacuation of at least 5,000 Nigerians fleeing from the Russia-Ukraine war to Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Zubairu Dada, claimed the approval came following a joint memo presented by both ministries at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Meanwhile, the UN states that over 549 civilian deaths, 41 of whom were children, have been confirmed in Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24, with more than two million people fleeing Ukraine since Russia invaded, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).