Nigeria will begin the evacuation of its second batch of citizens from Sudan on Saturday.
The Nigerian government on Saturday justified its decision to spend $1.2 million to rent buses for the evacuation of Nigerians from Sudan.
“The amount in question was negotiated in a condition of war and where there are competing demands for same bus services by other countries also trying to evacuate their citizens,” the government explained through a joint press release by 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 outcry was uncalled for.
The ministries further advised the public to discountenance unverified information being circulated on social media as some of it is either due to ignorance or sheer mischief.
“Therefore, the cooperation and understanding of all and sundry is required to complement ongoing efforts aimed at ensuring the safe return of every Nigerian trapped in Sudan,” it appealed.
The ministries also provided an update on the first batch of Nigerian evacuees who departed Sudan on Wednesday but are yet to arrive in Nigeria. They were expected to arrive on Friday.
The ministries said 637 of them were conveyed in 13 buses and have arrived at the Egyptian border where they are undergoing necessary documentation and clearance before admission into Egypt for their eventual evacuation to Nigeria.
The evacuees are expected to be airlifted to Nigeria in the coming hours by the Nigerian Air Force and Air Peace airline, who have been on standby for the operations.
On the second batch who are scheduled to be evacuated from Sudan today, 29 buses are expected to convey them to the same location (Egypt).
“The evacuees are advised to be at the designated locations with only one luggage,” they said.
“Contrary to insinuations on the social media, Embassy staff are very much on ground in Khartoum to coordinate the evacuation exercise to the very end.”
The government advised students and other Nigerians awaiting evacuation from Sudan to cooperate with them in order to ensure orderliness and proper documentation while embarking on the buses.
“This will go a long way in speeding up the process and avoiding unnecessary delays with documentation and clearance upon arrival at Aswan, Egypt,” it added.
The government empathised with affected Nigerians adding that maintaining order amidst the desperate situation remains crucial to getting all interested Nigerians out of the war zone in record time before the expiration of the ceasefire, which has been extended by 72 hours.
It also thanked ‘friendly countries’ who assisted in bringing succour to Nigerians fleeing the war in Sudan particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who assisted with the evacuation of eight Nigerians to safety in its territory.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the Nigerians were part of the over 1000 people, mainly foreigners, that Saudi Arabia evacuated by ship from Sudan.
The eight Nigerians will now be airlifted back to Nigeria from Saudi Arabia, the ministries said in the Saturday statement.
Over 400 people have been killed and thousands injured since the fighting began in Sudan between the army and the paramilitary RSF.