By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has disclosed that the Federal Government would begin the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in conflict-torn Sudan from Tuesday, 25 April, 2023.
Recall 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.
Onyeama made the disclosure on Sunday, 23 April, 2023 while speaking on a Channels programme, Sunday Politics.
“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.
Onyeama, who dismissed claims that the Federal Government was not showing enough concern about the plight of Nigerians in the troubled country, added that, “Nobody anticipated the Sudan crisis will escalate”, maintaining that the security of the lives of Nigerians is the government’s utmost priority.
The Minister disclosed that about 5,500 Nigerians were ready for evacuation from Sudan, adding that 80 per cent of them are students, just as 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,” Onyeama added.