By Blessing Bature
A total of 376 Nigerians stranded in Sudan have arrived safely in Abuja following a successful evacuation by the federal government.
The first batch of 94 evacuees touched down late last night aboard a Nigerian Airforce Hercules C-130 while the remaining 282 persons came back on an AirPeace flight.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq welcome the evacuees and thanked the federal government for the fruitful negotiations with the Sudanese government which led to the successful release and subsequent evacuation of Nigerians from the war-torn trans-Sahara region.
The Minister said, “We are happy that they arrived safely and no life was lost. They have gone through a very traumatizing period but thank God that they are back home.
In a statement by the SA MEDIA, NNEKA IKEM ANIBEZE, the Minister thanked the federal government for the successful rescue operation of Nigerians in Sudan. “We pray that there is peace in Sudan and every other part of this country. War is not a good thing. You can see that people who have gone to study have suddenly become refugees. This is not just an international crisis but a humanitarian crisis.
“We are giving them a stipend of N100,000 each to transport themselves back to their families. Hotel accommodation has also been arranged for the evacuees until they reunite with their families while those who need medical attention have also been taken care of“.
Farouq also stated that in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, no Nigerian who wants to flee the situation in Sudan will be left behind.
“The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the relevant MDAs like NEMA, NCFRMI, NIDCOM, NIA and the Nigerian Airforce are working with the Nigerian Missions in Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and Chad to ensure that no one is left behind.
Thus, every Nigerian escaping the situation in Sudan will be returned home in safety and dignity. The evacuation exercise went through treacherous and difficult third-party vendors which resulted in the glitches experienced during the mission. Other flights are being scheduled and will be more frequent to Sudan until all Nigerian citizens are safely returned home” she said.
Sudan has been plunged into war since April 15 with clashes between rival factions of the North African military government in Khartoum and the Darfur region.