By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Federal Government has confirmed that it has successfully evacuated all Nigerians that were stranded in the crisis-ridden Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Sani Gwarzo, made this disclosure while receiving another batch of 130 evacuees at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Recall that the evacuees arrived at the Pilgrims Terminal of the Airport at exactly 3:10 pm local time on Board TARCO Aircraft B373-300 from Port Sudan.
”I’m happy to announce that we have successfully removed everybody that needs to be removed out of Khartoum none of your colleagues today is in Khartoum, all of them have moved.
”You were the first batch to move out of Khartoum and sent to the Egyptian border, we still have a few of them, while some have already arrived in Nigeria.
”Though, majority of them will be arriving in the next eight hours or more, So by that time, no Nigerian would have been left in the Egyptian border,” Gwarzo said.
He said the second batch of the evacuees was airlifted from Port Sudan.
“But we have made adequate arrangements for everybody to be airlifted within the next few days. We have almost 1, 700 people over there and we have made adequate arrangements for flights to bring them back home. The good news is that no life has been lost,” he said.
Gwarzo, who disclosed that among the 130 evacuees 2 are men while the rest are women and children, assured the public that team will continue to prioritise women, children, and the ailing ones among them.
”We are going to continue to prioritise the return of women and children until every one of them is out,” Gwarzo said, explaining that the N100,000 stipend given to the evacuees was a life-saving support to the people coming from a distress situation.
“Some of you may have encountered difficulties or all of you, but it will soon be over you will be reunited with your families and the trauma will be over.
”So, we welcome you back home and we look forward to peace returning not only in Sudan but in the whole of Africa and the world at large,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said all Nigerians that needed evacuation had been evacuated to Port Sudan and Egypt waiting to be transported to Nigeria.
“We have about 800 evacuees at the Egyptian side, heading towards Aswan, as we already have aircraft on the ground.
“We have the Max Air with a capacity of 560 passengers and Azman Air with a capacity of 400 passengers, we have also activated Air Peace and we are waiting for their feedback today.
“Air Peace would be taking two flights out of Port Sudan, while Taco Airline will continue with four flights as they promised us today.
“The only problem we had was diplomatic issues which has been settled, as of now, all of them are safe in Port Sudan and Egyptian side,” he said.
Speaking further, the Director, Migration Affairs, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Mrs Catherine Udoifa, said the commission would also be providing psycho-social support to the returnees.
“We have started profiling of the students among them, we will do some referrals and liaise with the Ministry of Education to find placements for them in schools where necessary.
“We have a team that will provide psychosocial support to all the students and follow up on them to ensure that they are properly settled in and able to leave a normal life,” he said.
One of the returnees, a student of Sudan International University, Ms Sumaiya Yusuf, appreciated the federal government and all the agencies involved in their successful return.
“The whole journey took us a week, going to the pick-up venues, waiting for the buses, staying in the sun, we were really tired.
“However, we were not happy with the communication method of the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan at some point because, we were stuck on the road to Port Sudan for like 24 hours, but I am happy to be back home,” she said.