The Federal Government would begin the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in conflict-torn Sudan within the next two days, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Sunday.
Onyeama made the disclosure while speaking on a Channels programme, Sunday Politics.
Voice ofnaija.ng reports that fighting 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), has torn the country apart.
Hundreds of people have been killed since the crisis broke out on Saturday last week in Sudan’s capital between the forces of the two rival generals.
Thousands of Nigerians are in Sudan with 5,500 of them indicating interest to be evacuated to Nigeria, according to Daily Trust.
Voiceofnaija.ng had reported that the Nigerian students stranded in Sudan said they’re gripped by fear and anxiety in the capital city of Khartoum.
In a video on social media, they said that they were in dire condition and want the Nigerian government to evacuate them.
One of the students, Fauziyya Idris Safiyo, who fled Khartoum to the border town of Gallabat on the Sudan-Ethiopian shore, said the situation was getting out of control.
Reacting to the current situation, Onyeama said: “We are hoping that in the next day or two, we can start. We would have gotten approval from the Sudanese government to start moving our people out.
“I was in touch with our ambassador in Egypt, because Egypt is a country that is particularly close to Sudan, to also help to facilitate for this corridor and also a reception when they arrive there, their upkeep and so forth,” the minister said.
He dismissed claims that the federal government was not showing enough concern about the plight of Nigerians in the troubled country.
“Nobody anticipated the Sudan crisis will escalate,” he said, maintaining that the security of the lives of Nigerians is the government’s utmost priority.
He disclosed that about 5,500 Nigerians were ready for evacuation from Sudan, adding that 80 per cent of them were students.
He added that agencies of government are working to get relief to those stranded.
“I have been in touch round the clock with our embassy there and they have given us the cost estimate, they have given us all the details and they have given us all the total figure of 5,500 ready for evacuation.
“All the agencies of government are working together, including NEMA, and they are being contacted to find out what their needs are before evacuation and how to get it through to them,” he added.
Meanwhile, stranded Nigerian students in Sudan have announced planned evacuation to Ethiopia.
This was announced yesterday by the National Association of Nigerian Students, Sudan chapter, in a statement by its media committee.
The association asked its members to converge at three locations in Gadarif, the capital of the state of Al Qadarif in Sudan, before evacuation to neighbouring Ethiopia.
The association said departure time was 1pm and transport cost $100.
“This is to inform all Nigerian students to gather at any of these three locations to proceed with the evacuation to Gadarif, then to Ethiopia. 1. Ifriqiyyah University 2. NANSS Office or 3. El-Razi University.
“Those who don’t have the funds should contact either their school or state president. Come along with your passport, original/photocopy or school ID card.
“Those that don’t have their passport at hand should also contact their state or school president,” the statement read in part.