In discharge of its responsibility to Nigerian citizens wherever they may reside, the Federal Government on Saturday successfully carried out the evacuation of 474 Nigerians from the crisis-ridden Central African Republic.
The evacuees, mainly women and children, touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 5.30pm.
It was learnt that the FG evacuated the Nigerians from the troubled nation in three flights comprising two by Arik Air and one by a C-130 Hercules aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
A total of 199 persons joined Arik’s first flight, 168 came with the second, while the NAF flight evacuated 107 Nigerians.
Speaking on the evacuation, Nigeria’s Ambassador to CAR, Prince Roland Omowa, told reporters at the Abuja airport that the move became necessary following the prolonged crisis in the Central African nation.
He said, “We had hoped that the crisis in CAR would calm down but it did not and this made many Nigerians rush to the Nigerian Embassy.
“We had to contact the Federal Government and requested for evacuation and since yesterday the exercise has been going on”.
He added that no casualty had been recorded since the commencement of the evacuation process.
It would be recalled that about 3000 Nigerians were taking refuge at the Nigerian Embassy in Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic in extreme conditions as movement out or into the country became almost impossible.
Meanwhile, the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Sani Sidi, said the evacuees would be sent to their respective states through their state emergency management agencies.
Prior to Saturday’s evacuation exercise, a total of 365 persons were flown into Abuja from CAR on Friday.
The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of foreign Affairs, Dr. Martins Uhomoibhi, and officials of NEMA were on ground to receive the returnees.
Uhomoibhi stated that over 2000 people were to be repatriated from the troubled country.