After days of uncertainty, the Federal Government, yesterday, began evacuating Nigerians stranded in Sudan, following the outbreak of crisis in the North African country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and his counterpart Minister of State, Zubairu Dada, confirmed the development, after the matter was deliberated upon at the Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Onyeama, who briefed State House Correspondents of government’s plans for stranded citizens in that country, confirmed that 40 luxury buses were already on ground in crisis-ridden Sudan to pick up Nigerians in the country to Egypt.
He said once they are safely moved to Egypt, other arrangements would be effected to airlift them back to Nigeria.
Onyeama also revealed that the evacuation is being coordinated by the Nigerian embassy in Sudan as well as authorities of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), whose Director General has been on ground in Egypt to receive the evacuees.
According to the minister, buses conveying the citizens were hired at a cost of $1.2 million dollars, just as he noted the risks associated with moving the people.
He noted that the provision also included cost of providing security while conveying the citizens to Egyptian territory.
Both ministers noted that women and children would be given priority before diplomats who are equally involved in the evacuation logistics. They noted that the Nigerian government was leveraging on the 72 hours ceasefire window given by the Sudanese government to evacuate as many Nigerians as possible.
Dada noted that the Saudi Arabia government had already evacuated some Nigerians through the sea; a development he said was highly appreciated by the Federal Government.