Some Nigerian students in Sudan, have cried out to the Federal Government for help, following the ongoing crisis in the country.
Some students are reportedly trapped in their respective homes and hostels since the crisis began on 16 April.
According to reports, about 4,000 Nigerian students are stranded in Sudan following the ongoing clash between between the Sudanese Army and its rival, the Rapid Support Force.
The president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Sudan (NANSS), Abubakar Babangida, disclosed this to Daily Trust on Thursday.
The Nigerian government said it is still consulting on the next line of action regarding evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan.
The government said this in response to the request made by Nigerian students in Sudan.
Explosions and gunfire resounded in Sudan’s capital Thursday as fighting between the forces of two rival generals showed no signs of abating ahead of festivities marking the end of Ramadan.
Over 300 people have been killed since the fighting erupted Saturday between forces loyal to Sudan’s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
In a chat with Daily Trust reporters, Babangida said there were more than 10,000 Nigerian students currently studying in Sudan.
He, however, said most of them were on holiday, adding that only about 4,000 of them were left behind.
He said the students, mostly females, were stuck in Sudan at present.
“Statistically, we have more than 10,000 students studying in Sudan but now some are on holiday. Currently, about 3 to 4000 are stranded,” he stated.
The association had earlier written to the Nigerian government crying that its members were stranded in Sudan with no access to basic needs.
It also said its members had been facing dangerous threats.
“We hereby write, soliciting and yearning for the Nigerian government’s intercession to rescue and send for an immediate evacuation of the Nigerian students that are stuck in the centre of the ongoing war,” the letter written to the Nigerian government read in part.
One of the students, Hussein Musa Yusuf, who spoke to Daily Trust on phone on Thursday night, said there had been scarcity of water, food, electricity and other basic amenities since Sunday, 16 April.
He said they could not go out in search of basic needs because of ongoing shooting that have claimed civilian casualties.
Yusuf, an indigene of Kano State, added that there is a danger ahead if they are not quickly repatriated because they had no access to health centres and pharmacies.
“Many students are stranded in their hostels and houses without basic needs of life such as food, water and electricity.
“Presently, there is no access to hospitals and pharmacies. There is a risk if they go out because there is shooting and civilian casualties have been recorded,” he said.
When asked whether the Nigerian embassy in Sudan had contacted them for possible repatriation, Yusuf said they had not been contacted as of Thursday apart from the information given to them via a letter that was released on Wednesday.
The letter dated 19 April read: “Pursuant to undoing armed clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Force (RSF), which commenced on 15th April 2023, the Embassy is passionately appealing to all Nigerian nationals to exercise caution and restrain with respect to the circumstances we found ourselves.
“Be that as it may, the Embassy is in touch with all relevant stakeholders in Khartoum and Abuja respectfully, for protection and well-being of Nigerians in Sudan.
“Similarly, the embassy is making plans for possible evacuation of Nigerians Nationals with approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria as soon as the situation allows it and you will be communicated in due course.
“Consequently, the ambassador enjoined all Nigerian Nationals in Sudan to stay safe and be wary of fake news circulating the social media these trying times. As always, the Embassy will keep a close contact with the leadership of all the Nigerian unions for further consular assistance and updates.”
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), yesterday acknowledged that the commission had received the letter of solicitation by the NANSS for a possible evacuation of students, especially those in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement by Gabriel Odu of the Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit of NIDCOM, expressed concerns about their plights following the escalation of hostilities between the Sudanese army and RSF.
She assured that the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which is in charge of emergency evacuations, was consulting with the Nigerian mission in Sudan and other relevant agencies.
She, therefore, urged all Nigerian Students in Sudan as well as Nigerians living in Sudan to be security conscious and calm.
Meanwhile, when contacted for a response to the request by Nigerian students in Sudan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson, Franca Omayuli, said the federal government was working on something, promising to get back to our reporter on the issue.