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Federal Government Insists Evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan to be Done Only by Road

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Nigerians in Sudan
Nigerians in Sudan

By Uche Amunike

The Buhari-led government of Nigeria has said that, Monday, that the only viable means of evacuating Nigerians from Sudan is through road transportation.

Speaking, during an interview on popular Channels TV programme, Sunday, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, made this disclosure, explaining that efforts had been made by the government to evacuate Nigerians from Sudan as the internal war ravaging it thickens, especially as over 5,500 Nigerians in Sudan have continuously called on the government to rescue them to safety, since the war broke out, two weeks ago.

Onyema stated: ‘We have been working round the clock in the past two days to get Nigerians out of Sudan. First, we have told our embassy there to put up a platform where all the Nigerians in Sudan can log on to and information will be available, and to coordinate the process.’

‘Obviously, in a situation like this, what we need is where everybody can congregate before you start moving them out. And because the airport is not safe, the only viable way out is by road. Of course, it is not safe, but you will require the government to provide some level of security and a safe corridor.’

‘Our situation is challenging. We heard that the US has started evacuating her diplomatic staff, but they have not been able to evacuate their citizens there.’

On the issue of evacuating the Nigeria-Sudan diplomatic staff like some other countries did, the foreign Minister stated: ‘No, we cannot evacuate our diplomatic staff at the moment because they need to also coordinate the evacuation of the students but we are going to evacuate them.’

‘Essentially, where we are at the moment is trying to get authorization of the Sudanese government to undertake this long journey. We don’t want to risk the lives of Nigerians because we saw that the French in trying to evacuate their citizens came under fire.’

‘So, we are doing everything we can to get the approval of the Sudanese government at the very highest level. I was in touch with somebody in the office of the president and I made a formal request, they said they had received it.’

‘The option available to us is the Egyptian border, which is close to Port Sudan and the Ethiopian border. There is a border with Chad as well but the three we are looking at are the Ethiopian border, Port Sudan, and the Egyptian border.’

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has asked students in Sudan not to pay attention to plans made by the National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS) to evacuate them to Ethiopia and advised them to remain indoors and not go to the borders.

This call was made through a statement issued by H.Y.Garko, for Charge D’Affairs, Embassy of Nigeria in Khartoum in reaction to a call by NANS in Sudan, asking students to assemble at three locations for possible evacuation to Ethiopia.

Garko explained that it was unsafe for them to cross the Sudan borders without clearance.

The statement further read: ‘The embassy of the Federal Republic Nigeria Khartoum, wishes to inform all students in Sudan that they should disregard the notice circulated by the NANS in Sudan, calling students to converge at the three locations namely: African international university, NANS office and El-Razi University, for evacuation or to bring $100 or $200 for evacuation’.

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