Nigerian Student Who Abandoned Studies To Join Russia Military Operations In Ukraine Pleads For Citizenship

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A Nigerian national, Adam Mohammad Bakur Mohammad Ibrahim, 24, joined the Skif Cossack battalion in November 2023 under the call sign ‘Vanka’, participating in special military operations (SVO) with the unit.

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In December 2023, Russian media featured a story about ‘Vanka’, highlighting Ibrahim’s role in capturing a Ukrainian soldier, as seen in an online video reported by RT.

Upon completing his six-month contract, Adam returned to Voronezh, where he had previously studied at the Academy of Sports. His intention was to resume his studies and obtain Russian citizenship, but he encountered challenges in acquiring a Russian passport.

Seeking assistance, Ibrahim reached out to RT, recounting his journey that began in September 2023 when he enrolled at the Voronezh State Academy of Sports. In November 2023, with the academy’s approval, he took a leave of absence to volunteer for military service in Russia’s Northern Military District.

Unable to directly contract with the Ministry of Defense as a non-Russian citizen, Ibrahim leveraged a legal provision allowing foreign nationals to support Russian military efforts through agreements with authorized organizations. He enlisted in the Skif Cossack battalion, part of the Terek Cossack brigade, assuming duties as a shooter and later training as a UAV operator.

During his deployment, Ibrahim participated in combat missions in the Soledar region, earning commendations for his bravery and discipline from the Skif DRO chief of staff. His service record noted his contributions to operations aimed at denazification and demilitarization in Ukraine.

When Ibrahim’s contract ended on May 4, 2024, he returned to Voronezh with hopes of continuing his education and securing Russian citizenship under President Vladimir Putin’s Decree No. 10, effective from January 4, 2024, which facilitates simplified citizenship for foreign military service members.

Despite his eligibility under the decree, Ibrahim has faced bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining Russian citizenship. His attempts to navigate the process at the Voronezh EMC have so far been unsuccessful. With the threat of legal repercussions in Nigeria for his activities as a volunteer, Ibrahim remains in Voronezh, uncertain of his future citizenship status.

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