Following the outbreak of conflicts in the North African country, Sudan, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has kickstarted the process of extrication of stranded Nigerian citizens from war torn Sudan. The victims are to be evacuated to neighboring Egypt by road, using luxurious buses hired for a whooping amount of 1.2 million dollars, a total of 150 Million in naira.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs, made this known to the media today in company of his counterpart, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, the Minister of State of the ministry. They confirmed the development today after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).
Briefing media Correspondents at the State House on the plans, Onyeama confirmed that 40 luxury buses were already on the ground in Sudan to pick up Nigerian citizens in the country to another north African country, Egypt. According to him, “once they are safely moved to Egypt, other arrangements would be effected to airlift them back to Nigeria”, he said. He further said the Nigerian embassy in Sudan as well as authorities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FERMA) whose Director General has been on the ground in Egypt to receive the evacuees are the ones coordinating the movement. The Ministers said the buses conveying the citizens were hired at a cost of $ 1.2 million dollars, citing the risks associated with moving the people and their protection as reasons for the huge amount to be spent on the evacuation.
In another development, during his interview on Arise Television today, the Chief Executive Officer of the largest privately owned Airline in Africa, Air Peace, Allen Onyema said his company has volunteered to airlift these victims from Egypt back to Nigeria without collecting a Kobo. He said he is doing this as a way of giving back to Nigeria which he considered as a privilege. Asked if anybody is paying for the services, he said, nobody paid him. However, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs did not confirm if Air Peace will be hired for the airlifting back to Nigeria and he did not specifically mentioned any other airline in Nigeria. He however said that women and children will be given priority, before diplomats who are equally involved in the evacuation logistics.
It was gathered that the Government was leveraging on the 72 hours cease fire agreement between the waring factions, given by the Sudanese government to evacuate Nigerians. the ministers on behal of the government of Nigeria appreciated the efforts of the Saudi Arabia government who had already evacuated some Nigerians through the Sea.