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The Nigerian government on Saturday justified its decision to spend $1.2 million to hire buses to evacuate Nigerians from Sudan.
“The amount in question was negotiated in a state of war and when requests for the same bus services from other countries are competing, also trying to evacuate their citizens,” explained the Government through a joint press release from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Humanitarian Affairs. .
Many Nigerians have demanded an explanation of the expenditure since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement.
According to the official statement, the claim was unnecessary.
The ministries also advised the public to ignore unverified information circulating on social media, some of which are due to ignorance or pure mischief.
“Therefore, the cooperation and understanding of all is necessary to complement the ongoing efforts to ensure the safe return of all Nigerians trapped in Sudan,” he appealed.
The ministries also gave an update on the first batch of Nigerian evacuees who left Sudan on Wednesday but have yet to arrive in Nigeria. They expected to arrive on Friday.
According to the ministries, 637 of them have been transported in 13 buses and have reached the Egyptian border, where they are receiving the necessary documentation and permission before entering Egypt to evacuate to Nigeria.
The evacuees are expected to be airlifted to Nigeria in the coming hours by the Nigerian Air Force and Air Peace airlines, which have been on standby for operations.
Today in the second lot that will be evacuated from Sudan, 29 buses are expected to transport them to the same place (Egypt).
“The evacuees are advised to stay with only one piece of luggage in the appropriate places,” they said.
“Contrary to what has been reported on social media, Embassy staff are very much on the ground to coordinate the evacuation exercise in Khartoum to the end.”
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The government advised the students and other Nigerians awaiting evacuation from Sudan to cooperate with them to ensure order and proper documentation when boarding the buses.
“This will go a long way in speeding up the process and avoiding unnecessary delays with documentation and authorization upon arrival in Aswan, Egypt,” he added.
The government empathized with the affected Nigerians and added that amid the desperate situation, maintaining order remains crucial to evacuate all concerned Nigerians from the war zone in record time before the expiry of the ceasefire which has been extended for 72 hours.
He also thanked “friendly countries” who helped Nigerians fleeing the war in Sudan, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which helped evacuate eight Nigerians to safety in its territory.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the Nigerians were part of over 1000 people, mostly foreigners, evacuated by boat from Sudan by Saudi Arabia.
The eight Nigerians will now be flown from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, the ministries said in a statement on Saturday.
More than 400 people have been killed and thousands injured since fighting broke out between Sudan’s army and RSF paramilitaries.
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