By Ogochukwu Isioma
The Nigerian government has warned citizens stranded in Sudan — amid the ongoing fighting — not to embark on journeys to various borders on their own in view of the risks and dangers involved.
Government issued the warning in a joint statement on Tuesday jointly signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, in Abuja.
While urging parents to advise their wards to remain calm and maintain constant communication with officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan for instructions and updates, government assured that efforts are being made to evacuate the affected Nigerian citizens.
The statement reads: “The Honourable Ministers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development express concern over the dire humanitarian situation in Sudan and empathize with the entire civilian population in the country, including the Nigerian students, and other members of the Nigerian community caught up in the ongoing crisis between the Sudanese Army and the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
“The Honourable Ministers note with concern that some of these students are trying to find their way to contiguous borders of either Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia or Chad on their own.
“In line with the directive of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the Humanitarian Sector comprising FMHADMSD, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI)) is working very closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions in the countries bordering Sudan, as well as with other relevant stakeholders especially the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigerian Armed Forces, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and International Humanitarian Organizations such as International Organization for Migration (IOM) to immediately evacuate these Students and other affected Nigerian citizens.
“The Ministers, therefore, urge parents to advise their wards that while concerted efforts are being made to evacuate them, the students should endeavour to remain calm and maintain constant communication with officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan for instructions and updates.
“The ministers also said the Embassy Officials can be reached on the following telephone numbers, +2348035866773, +249961956284, +2348063636862, +249961956274, +2349066663493.
“They are also advised to guard against undertaking the treacherous purncy to the border on their own, in view of the dangers involved.
“On this note, the Honourable Ministers emphasise that concrete plans are underway, to deploy, very shortly, air transport to evacuate all stranded Nigerian cilizens through the identified safe transit areas back home to Nigeria in safety and dignity.”
Reports claim that no fewer than 4,000 Nigerians, including students, are stranded in Sudan over the war that broke out in the North-East Africa country about two weeks ago between two warring military factions.
While the groups were allies and seized power in 2021, tensions have increased over the proposed integration of the paramilitary forces into the Sudanese military.
Some other countries including the United Kingdom have completed evacuation of their citizens from the war-ridden Sudan, as confirmed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Over 400 people have been killed in the fighting, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said it will commence the evacuation of stranded Nigerians from Tuesday(today), noting that the evacuation will be done via road from Khartoum to Cairo in Egypt.