Sudan: 1,500 Nigerian Evacuees To Arrive Abuja Today – FG

The Federal Government says the first batch of Nigerians being evacuated from the crisis-torn Sudan will arrive in Abuja today. 

Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja yesterday.

“As I speak to you, we’re expecting about 1,500 Nigerians.

“And also, Air Peace will be leaving tonight (Thursday night) from Nigeria to pick them up from Egypt and bring them back safely to Nigeria by tomorrow (today),” she said.

She said over three million Nigerians were residing in Sudan and efforts were being made to evacuate as many as possible if the war persisted, adding that priority would be on children, students and women.

She said: “All in all, 13 buses have departed for Aswan border in Egypt where they’ll be received by the Nigerian Ambassador there and the Director-General of NEMA, Habib Ahmed, who is already there with some officials.”

Speaking yesterday on Sunrise Daily, a Channels TV programme, Dabiri-Erewa, said universities in Nigeria had made offers to admit Nigerian students returning from Sudan.

Drivers of the first batch of five buses conveying Nigerian students that left Khartoum on Wednesday abandoned them in the desert for hours over issues relating to payments. 

However, the National Emergency Management Agency said all issues had been resolved.

Some parents of the involved students, who received their WhatsApp audio and video messages, shared same with Daily Trust.

A 400-level student of the International University of Africa, Khartoum, said the 38 hours scheduled journey between Khartoum in Sudan, and the neighboring Egyptian city of Aswan, had encountered a challenge.

“The bus drivers have told us that their company had demanded them to stop the journey until the balance payment of their service had been paid.

According to the student, the drivers insisted that they were only paid 30 per cent of the agreed charges, with the promise of paying the remaining balance once they got out of the state capital, Khartoum. 

“We’re yet to eat anything since the journey started from Khartoum around 5pm Wednesday,” she added.

Another female student, in a video message, along with fellow male counterparts, said they had so far spent about five hours in the desert, with no money or anything left in their possession.

‘Issues have been resolved’

Franca Omayuli, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the video of stranded Nigerians abandoned in the desert was not the true reflection of the situation as the government was on course to evacuate all stranded Nigerians from Sudan in a dignified manner.

Similarly, the spokesman of the NEMA, Ezekiel Monzo, said it was wrong for the travelers to complain of lack of food, adding that arrangements were made for their feeding.

He assured that the evacuees would arrive in Nigeria today.

Only 637 Nigerians evacuated so far – Embassy 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan had earlier yesterday said a disagreement over payments was obstructing the process of evacuating stranded Nigerian students from the war-torn country.

In a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated 27th April, 2023, the embassy said only 637 stranded Nigerians had so far been evacuated from Sudan using 13 buses.

“This is against our early arrangement with the company for the release of 20 buses per day, although, the company had prepared the balance of the 7 buses in the evening but withdrew them because the discussion for payments of the balance with DG NEMA in Cairo did not work out.

“Apparently, the company supplied the thirteen buses equivalents to the $400,000 deposit paid less $10,000 ($30000@bus). This morning, we don’t foresee the company supplying the additional buses needed to continue the exercise until the discussion in Cairo is concluded,” the letter, signed by the Cháncery, read in part. 

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia yesterday said it had evacuated approximately 2,544 persons from 74 countries, including 10 Nigerians, from Sudan.

This was contained in a statement last night from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Abuja.

According to the statement, in continuation of the evacuation efforts being made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the directives of the Kingdom’s leaderships, more evacuees continue to arrive Jeddah Port, Saudi Arabia, from the Republic of Sudan on Thursday, bringing the total number of evacuees from Sudan since the evacuations began at approximately 2,544 persons.

The statement said the evacuees comprised 119 Saudi citizens; while 2425 were from 74 countries among which 10 are from Nigeria.

It listed the nationalities of the countries as Nigeria, Netherlands, Russia, Lebanon, Norway, USA, Turkey, Serbia, Poland, Germany, India, Georgia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sweden, Uzbekistan, UK, Ireland, Kenya, Philippines, Ethiopia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Paraguay, Pakistan, Oman, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine.

Others were Mauritania, Yemen, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Armenia, Hungary, Sweden, Turkey, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Tanzania, Djibouti, Cape Verde, Congo, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Somalia, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Croatia, Nicaragua, Liberia, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Niger, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Source: DailyTrust

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