The Federal Government (FG) says it has spent $1.2million (about N560m) to transport Nigerians stranded in Sudan by road to safe places where they can be flown home. The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, who disclosed this, Wednesday, also said no Nigerian had died in the fight between warring military factions in Sudan so far.
According to the Minister, “The evacuation is being done in batches to ensure the safety of all Nigerians, but the good news is that no Nigerian life has been lost so far.
“All Nigerians are very safe and we’re very confident and hopeful that we shall not lose any Nigerian life Insha Allah in this exercise. All is well and we’re good to go.
“Some Nigerians have actually been evacuated by ship, I guess from Port Sudan, by the government of Saudi Arabia."
It was gathered that ten buses conveyed about 500 Nigerians from Sudan to Egypt yesterday, where they will be airlifted home by Air Peace.
Two of the first 10 buses took off from El-Razy University, while eight picked up Nigerians from the African International University. Both in Khartoum.
The buses are among the 40 hired by the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the FG has it would prioritize the evacuation of Nigerian women and children first.
It, however, disclosed that many Nigerians had already been evacuated by sea with the assistance of the Saudi Arabian government.
Commenting on the evacuation Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, “With regards to the evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan, you’ll recall that the main challenge we had was securing some permission, first of all authorization of the Sudanese government and, and then, you know, some security support for the convoy because it’s been decided that we will transport or convey the Nigerians to the Egyptian border Aswan.
“So that’s what we decided. We are liaising with our embassy in Egypt as well. So we’ve been able to overcome a number of challenges and have started the process which we’re very happy about.
“We secured significant number of luxurious buses because the distances are quite considerable. We started the process and it will take, you know, maybe a couple of days to evacuate everybody.
“As regards the gender question, I think that’s obviously something we will have to look into in a bit more detail, but I think ordinarily, it will be appropriate that women and children should be given priority I think that goes without saying”.