The Federal Government says the nation’s Air Force (NAF) will start evacuating Nigerians caught in the armed conflict in the Sudan from Friday.
The airlift operations will take place in neighbouring Egypt, where the stranded Nigerians had been taken by bus, through a land corridor in the course of a three-day ceasefire, as a first step and safety precaution.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Peace and other Airlines have received clearance to fly to Egypt. The NAF C-130H is scheduled to leave Abuja tomorrow,(Friday) 28th April, 2023 to commence the airlifting of the evacuees,” Ambassador Janet Olisa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.
According to the ministry in a statement jointly signed and released by Director Overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Amb. Janet Olisa, OON and MFADr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo mni, NPOM Permanent Secretary
FMHADMSD on 27th April, 2023 reads:
See full statement:
JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (MFA) AND THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS, DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (FMHADMSD) ON THE EVACUATION OF NIGERIANS CAUGHT UP IN THE ON-GOING CRISIS IN SUDAN
Issued at Abuja, Nigeria on 27th April, 2023
The Ministers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development convened a Situation Room on the Evacuation of Nigerian nationals from Sudan chaired by the Permanent Secretary FMHADMSD, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, mni, NPOM, meets daily. This followed the lingering crisis in Sudan between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RAF)
Members of the Situation Room include Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Office of the Chief of Staff, National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Nigerian Air Force (NAF). Other members include the various Nigerian Foreign Missions relevant to the evacuation exercise.
Seizing the window of the three (3) day United States negotiated ceasefire in Sudan, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR approved the immediate deployment of both human and financial resources towards the evacuation of Nigerians caught up in the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
Consequently, forty (40) buses have been secured in Sudan to convey the students and other Nigerians from Khartoum to Aswan border in Egypt, which is one of the identified safe reception borders. As at the time of the release of this statement, the 1st batch of buses had already departed Khartoum.
The Nigerian Mission in Egypt is liaising with the Egyptian Authorities to facilitate the evacuation exercise, by providing emergency entry documents and holding shelters, until the stranded Nigerian are airlifted back to Nigeria.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Peace and other Airlines have received clearance to fly to Egypt. The NAF C-130H is scheduled to leave Abuja tomorrow, 28th April, 2023 to commence the airlifting of the evacuees. Similarly, arrangements are being concluded to airlift all Nigerians that have already escaped on their own to safety in other countries neighbouring Sudan.
Some Nigerian students who found their way to the Ethiopian border on 22nd April, 2023 and got stranded were allowed entry into Ethiopia on 24th April, 2023 following the intervention of some Nigerian leaders. The students are safe and in good condition and have already made personal travel arrangements to return to Nigeria.
Similarly, another group of Nigerians assisted by the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) arrived Jeddah and are being taken care of by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Nigerian Embassy in KSA. Arrangements are being made to bring them back home safely.
The initial hitches encountered during the commencement of the exercise, including incidents of bus drivers stopping in the desert due to non-payment have been resolved. The buses have continued towards the Egyptian border. The evacuation exercise is progressing and will continue until all stranded Nigerians are brought back home safely.