Nigerian Volunteer Struggles to Secure Russian Citizenship After Military Service | #NwokeukwuMascot


  Adam Mohammad Bakur  
Voronezh, Russia — Adam Mohammad Bakur Mohammad Ibrahim, a 24-year-old Nigerian national, has been on a determined quest for Russian citizenship since May 2024. His journey is marked by his unique involvement with the Skif Cossack battalion and his participation in Russia’s special military operations (SVO).

Adam's story began in September 2023, when he enrolled at the Voronezh State Academy of Sports. His pursuit of education took an unexpected turn in November 2023 when he took a leave of absence to join the Skif Cossack battalion, part of the Terek Cossack brigade, with the academy's consent. This decision was driven by his desire to remain in Russia and eventually become a citizen.

“I wanted to volunteer for the Northern Military District,” Adam told RT. “I went because I wanted to stay in Russia after studying and become a citizen of this country.”

As a non-Russian citizen, Adam couldn’t directly enlist with the Ministry of Defense. However, foreign nationals can support Russia’s military through agreements with authorized organizations. On November 11, 2023, Adam signed such an agreement with the Skif Cossack battalion and was assigned the call sign 'Vanka'. Initially a shooter, he quickly demonstrated versatility, becoming a skilled UAV operator on the front lines. His deployment in the Soledar direction earned him a reputation for exemplary service.

The chief of staff of the Skif DRO lauded Adam in an official document: “During his participation in the special operation for the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine, Vanka established himself as a responsible, courageous, conscientious, strong-willed, disciplined warrior. He performed combat missions despite life-threatening conditions, earning well-deserved authority and respect within the team.”

Adam's contract with Skif expired on May 4, 2024. Returning to Voronezh, he planned to resume his studies and hoped to do so as a newly minted Russian citizen. His hopes were buoyed by President Vladimir Putin’s Decree No. 10, effective January 4, 2024, which simplifies the citizenship process for foreign nationals who have served in the Russian Armed Forces or affiliated formations.

Despite being eligible for this expedited path to citizenship, Adam’s application has faced numerous obstacles. He sought assistance from the Voronezh EMC but received little guidance or support. Meanwhile, returning to Nigeria is fraught with danger; he risks imprisonment for mercenary activities.

“I stayed on the front line for six months; my contract expired on May 4,” Adam said. “Now I have a problem with obtaining citizenship. For now, I am in Voronezh and continue to study at the Academy. At home, they could arrest me, they could give me 20 years in prison.”

Adam's struggle highlights the complexities and bureaucratic challenges faced by foreign nationals who serve in foreign militaries, even when legal frameworks promise simplified paths to citizenship. His story continues to unfold as he navigates the hurdles in his quest for a new life in Russia.


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