- $1.2 million dollars is what FG is being charged for all 40 buses.
- FG acknowledges that, because of the risks involved and so many other things, a lot of people are going to also take advantage.
- The French convoy was attacked and it was difficult procuring these buses, according to FG.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the sum of $ 1.2 million for the immediate evacuation of Nigerians stranded in Sudan.
This was disclosed by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, after the FEC’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Minister stated that the costs would be used for 40 buses to transport the students to Egypt and airlift them, citing that it was difficult procuring these buses after the French convoy was attacked.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, on the update on what is happening with regards to the evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan said FG’s main challenge was first of all securing the authorization of the Sudanese Government and then security support for the convoy, he added:
- “This is because it has been decided that we will transport or convey Nigerians to the Egyptian border, Aswan.
- ”We are liaising with our embassy in Egypt as well; so we have been able to overcome these challenges and we have started the process which we are very happy about.
- “$1.2 million dollars is what we’re being charged for all the 40 buses. We have huge transport luxury buses made available to us to transport our citizens to the Egyptian border.
- ”Of course you know, because of the risks involved and so many other things, a lot of people are going to also take advantage.
- ”We saw that the French convoy was attacked and so forth. It was difficult procuring these buses. But we had to do it because you know Nigerian lives matter to us.”
No Life lost
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, disclosed that no Nigerian life had been lost in Sudan since the conflict broke out on April 15, he added:
- “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.
- ” I think it’s important to stress that 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.”
Dada added the government was making every effort to evacuate as many Nigerians as possible during the 72-hour window provided by the Sudanese government, adding:
- “We have no problem about the 72-hour window because we’ve talked to all the authorities concerned and we’re on the same page.
- ”But talking about the window, we are making every effort to ensure that we make use of this window to evaluate as many Nigerians as we possibly can.”
The Minister also added that some Nigerians have actually been evacuated by ship, from Port Sudan, by the government of Saudi Arabia.
Thousands of foreign students from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia have been stranded across Sudan as factional fighting erupted.
It is estimated that at least 5,000 of them are Nigerians, as students from Egypt, Nigeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Chad, South Sudan, and Somalia, among other countries, have been trapped in universities and cities such as Khartoum since the fighting began on April 15.
According to the Arabic world education publication Al-Fanar based in London, there were over 15,000 international students from Arab countries alone, enrolled in Sudanese universities in 2019.
These students were spread across the country in 38 public universities and over 100 private institutions.
Non-Arab countries such as Nigeria have one of the highest numbers of students in Sudan, and plans are underway to evacuate an initial batch of 3,500 stranded students.
According to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, the group will be driven north by bus to Cairo, Egypt, where they will be flown home.
This is one of the few things this government has been doing right over the years – evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad, and the government deserves commendation for it.