Why FG can’t rescue Nigerians in Sudan now – NEMA

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The Federal Government of Nigeria is making preparations to evacuate approximately 5,500 stranded Nigerians out of Sudan through the Egyptian town of Luxor. The government is seeking Egypt’s support to move the stranded Nigerians to Luxor.

Dr Onimode Bandele, the Director of Special Duties of the National Emergency Management Agency and Chairman of NEMA’s Committee for the Evacuation of the Stranded Nigerians from Sudan, explained that the government is in talks with officials in Egypt about moving Nigerians out of Sudan through Egypt.

He said in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday, “Let us make it clear that the situation in Sudan is an internal conflict. It is not Sudan versus another country. It is two factions against themselves. However, we are in touch with our ambassador in Sudan, and in fact, I spoke to him about two hours ago.”

Nigerians in Sudan

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, confirmed that the government had concluded arrangements to evacuate 5,500 Nigerians in Sudan by road, subject to authorisation from the Sudanese government.

He continued: “We are in touch with our ambassador in Sudan, and we have concluded arrangements with the Sudanese authorities to bring them out by road.”

However, due to security reasons, Nigeria will get authorization from the Sudanese government before the evacuation. Bandele added: “The situation does not allow anybody to go in and pick any of their citizens. It may interest you to know that the governments of Qatar and France tried to move some of their citizens yesterday (Saturday) and they were attacked, so they have to beat a retreat.”

The conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Force has resulted in over 400 deaths, thousands of injuries, and millions of people being displaced.

The clashes broke out between erstwhile allies, General Abdel al-Burhan who heads the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF paramilitary group, led by General Mohamed Dagalo.

Bandele estimated that around 5,000 Nigerians need to be evacuated from Sudan, including 2,000 Nigerians ready for evacuation and 3,000 Nigerian students. He said: “In fact, from the figures we’ve got from our ambassador, 2,000 Nigerians are ready for evacuation, and he said the population of students that we need to move is about 3,000. So we are working with a figure of about 5,000 Nigerians.”

Bandele further explained that the government is exploring a diplomatic pact with Egypt to get into Sudan and move its citizens to safety in Luxor, Egypt. He noted: “The Nigerian government is exploring a diplomatic pact with Egypt, to see if Egypt can help us make arrangements to get into Sudan and move our people to safety at a town called Luxor in Egypt. There is another window too in Addis Ababa, however, that will be explored between Ambassador Rimi and the ambassador in Ethiopia.”

He also mentioned that it would not be safe to move people out of Sudan at the moment, as other countries such as Qatar and France had attempted to move their citizens, but they were attacked and had to retreat. He said: “But the point I want to make here is that nobody who is thinking straight will just go into Sudan to move anybody. Mind you, some of those countries that we say had moved their citizens, some of them have fewer than 50 citizens in Sudan, but for Nigeria, if we do an evacuation today, it will be up to thousands.”

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