Onyeama confirms safe evacuation plans for Nigerians in Sudan

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has confirmed that the Federal Government is working tirelessly to ensure the safe evacuation of Nigerian citizens in Sudan.

On Sunday, during an interview on Channels Television, Onyeama revealed that there are approximately 5,500 Nigerians currently in Sudan, with over 80% of them being students.

Unlike other countries that are prioritizing the evacuation of their diplomatic staff, Onyeama stated that Nigeria would prefer to have their diplomatic staff coordinate the evacuation of her citizens. He highlighted that the government’s primary objective was to receive approval from the Sudanese government to undertake the long convoy and provide security.

“We have been working round the clock for the last two days to try and get the Nigerians out. You know, first of all, of course, we have an embassy there. So that’s already a good thing,” Onyeama said.

To ensure coordination during the evacuation process, Onyeama said that they have directed the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan to create a platform where all Nigerians can log in, get information and coordinate the process.

“Obviously, what you need in a situation like this is a place where everybody can congregate before you start moving them out,” he added.

He further stated that the only viable way out of the country is by road, which is not safe, and that the Nigerian government is requesting that the Sudanese government provide some security and a safe corridor out.

The minister noted that the Sudanese government has been reached for authorization.

“Our situation is particularly challenging because the numbers are so great. Now, you know, we’ve heard that the US and some other European countries have started evacuating, but they’ve been evacuating the diplomatic staff. They haven’t been able to start evacuating their citizens there,” Onyeama explained.

Due to the high number of students stranded in Sudan, the minister explained that Nigeria cannot evacuate all diplomatic staff immediately.

“We can’t evacuate all our diplomatic staff at the moment because they need to also coordinate the evacuation of all those students. So we’re going to also evacuate them,” he said.

Onyeama also mentioned that the Nigerian government is exploring other options as well, considering that the Egyptian border is closed. He added that Port Sudan is another location where international diplomatic personnel have been congregating, and the Ethiopian border may also be considered.

“We don’t want to expose our citizens to that danger as well. So we’re doing everything we can to get the requisite approval from the Sudanese government at the very highest level. So we are not going to stop at that; we are going to keep on the options available to us,” Onyeama stated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the violent clashes between Sudan’s army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, have resulted in over 400 fatalities.

As a result, several Nigerian citizens have called on the Federal Government to rescue them.

In response, Onyeama emphasized that the government is doing everything possible to ensure the safe evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan.

“We have been working round the clock for the last two days to try and get the Nigerians out,” Onyeama reiterated.

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