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SUDAN CONFLICT: Evacuation begins today as FG releases N150m, hires 40 buses.

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The Federal Government will today commence the evacuation of about 5,500 Nigerians, including students stranded in Khartoum and other cities in Sudan.

To facilitate the repatriation, the government has released N150m for hiring 40 buses to convey them from Sudan to Cairo in Egypt.

The money was paid to an undisclosed transport company on Tuesday by the Central Bank of Nigeria through the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and transferred to one Abubakar Ali through Jaiz Bank for the transportation of the beleaguered citizens.

The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, confirmed that the payment had been made, noting that the evacuees would take off on Wednesday morning.

“They are still in Khartoum.@nemanigeria has sorted all payments etc but there are still a few logistical delays. They will likely proceed early in the morning. Safer to leave early in the morning. A war situation is not a normal situation. We are all anxiously waiting to receive them.

“Some logistics issues but all sorted out now by @nemanigeria but advisable to take off in the early morning rather than late afternoon.”

The Director of the Special Duties, National Emergency Management Agency, who doubles as Chairman of NEMA’s Committee for the Evacuation of the Stranded Nigerians from Sudan, Dr Onimode Bandele, had said the government met with government officials in Egypt on how to move Nigerians through Luxor.

In a letter dated April 23, 2023, signed by the Charge D’ Affairs, Nigerian Embassy in Sudan, Haruna Garko, the mission requested 200 buses to convey 3,500 students from Khartoum to Cairo.

In a message sent to parents, the embassy explained the challenges it was facing in its efforts to bring back their wards and children.

The message sent on Monday evening read in part, “Good evening dear parents, I wish to respectfully update you on our efforts since morning. Fortunately, we are alive to tell the story. Three of us (Embassy officials were harassed and almost killed by RSF forces on our way to get the buses).

“We have secured 40 luxury buses despite the limited supply and high demand due to the situation of war we find ourselves in. But the company insisted on cash payment, which is practically impossible. After negotiation, they agreed to collect some percentage of the money but not less than $400,000 cash. We do not have that money.

“We managed to get some money agents, but they insisted only when their bank account is credited outside Khartoum, can they release the funds. We have informed the Federal Government of Nigeria accordingly to credit their account hopefully early in the morning (Tuesday) for the evacuation to start.

“In view of the above circumstances, there will be some delay for the take-off but Insha Allah it will be done. Kindly bear with us and inform your children/relatives to stay where they are pending payment by the FGN. We are sorry for this inconvenience. Thank you all.”

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