A $1.2 million budget has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the immediate evacuation of Nigerians stuck in war-torn Sudan.
In his remarks to state house reporters on the results of the Council meeting, which was held on Wednesday in Abuja under the chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama made this clear.
Onyeama stated that the funds would be used to hire luxurious buses to transport the stranded Nigerians from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to Egypt, where they would then be flown back to Nigeria.
Just an update on the situation regarding the evacuation of Nigerians from Sudan, he said.
“As you may remember, our main obstacle was obtaining the Sudanese Government’s approval first, followed by security support for the convoy.
This is due to the fact that it has been decided to transport or convey Nigerians to the Egyptian border town of Aswan.
We are communicating with our embassy in Egypt as well, so we were able to overcome these obstacles and the process has begun, which is something we are very happy about.
“The price for all 40 buses is $1.2 million,” the customer complained. To transport our citizens to the Egyptian border, large, luxurious buses have been made available to us.
You are aware that many people will also take advantage due to the risks involved and numerous other factors.
We observed that the French convoy was attacked, among other things. Getting these buses was challenging. But we were forced to because, as you know, we care about the lives of Nigerians.
Zubairu Dada, the minister of state for foreign affairs, also commented on the situation and revealed that no Nigerian had died in Sudan since the conflict started on April 15.
“The evacuation is being carried out in batches to ensure the safety of every Nigerian,” he said. The good news is that no Nigerian lives have been lost up to this point.
“All Nigerians are extremely safe, I believe it’s important to emphasize. And we have every confidence and hope that, insha Allah, we won’t lose any Nigerian lives during this exercise. We are ready to go and everything is fine.
The government has also arranged for security assistance and transportation for the Nigerians to the Egyptian border, Mr. Dada continued.
According to him, the administration was making every effort to evacuate as many Nigerians as possible during the 72-hour window given by the government of Sudan.
When asked if everyone in Nigeria would be evacuated within the allotted 72 hours, Mr. Dada responded, “We have no problem about the 72-hour window because we’ve talked to all the authorities involved and we’re on the same page.
But speaking of the window, we are working hard to make sure that we use it to assess as many Nigerians as we are able to.
The Saudi Arabian government had already evacuated some Nigerians by ship, he also revealed.
“Let me also add that the Saudi Arabian government has evacuated some Nigerians, I believe from Port Sudan, by ship.
“Remember that this is a collaborative effort. We have friendly nations ready to help, so we have to report that the Saudi authorities have been able to pick up some Nigerians and are transporting them by ship, I believe to Saudi Arabia, specifically to Jeddah.
If they are successful in traveling to Jeddah, we will naturally connect from there and figure out a way to bring them back, he added.