The Federal Government on Wednesday, said no Nigerian has died in the ongoing war in Sudan.
The crisis which broke out on April 15 from a bitter power struggle between the leaders of Sudan’s regular army and a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has led to the death of several citizens creating humanitarian crises.
The minister of state for foreign affairs, Zuberu Dada, disclosed this while briefing State House journalists after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister said in a bid to ensure the safety of its citizens in Sudan, the Nigerian government has successfully secured permission and authorisation from the Sudanese government to evacuate Nigerians from the war-torn country.
According to the minister, “an estimated 400 people have been officially announced dead, while nearly 3,500 have been injured in the confrontation which has forced hundreds of citizens to flee the capital Khartoum.
He said: “The evacuation is being done in batches to ensure the safety of all Nigerians. But the good news is that no Nigerian life has been lost so far. I think it’s important to stress that all Nigerians are safe. And we’re very confident and hopeful that we shall not lose any Nigerian in this exercise. All is well and we’re good to go.”
Dada added that the government has also arranged for security support and transportation for the Nigerians to the Egyptian border.
He said the government was making every effort to evacuate as many Nigerians as possible during the 72-hour window provided by the Sudanese government.
Speaking on the time frame within which the evacuation will be done, the minister said that the Sudanese government was cooperating with the Nigerian government over the arrangements made to evacuate Nigerians.
“We have no problem with the 72-hour window. Because we’ve talked to all the authorities concerned and we’re on the same page. But talking about the window, we are making every effort to ensure that we make use of this window to evaluate as many Nigerians as we possibly can.”
Dada also disclosed that some Nigerians have already been evacuated by ship by the government of Saudi Arabia.
“Let me also add that some Nigerians have actually been evacuated by ship, I guess from Port Sudan, by the government of Saudi Arabia. Don’t forget, this is a joint effort. We have friendly nations that are ready to assist, you know, so that we’re having to record that the Saudi authorities have been able to, pick up some Nigerians, they’re transporting them by ship, I guess to Saudi Arabia, to Jeddah in particular. From where, of course, again, we’ll link up and find a way of bringing them back from Jeddah those that succeed in going to Jeddah.”
Speaking further on procedures for the evacuation, the minister said women and children would be given priority, followed by students, while the diplomats would be on the ground to supervise the exercise
“Certainly, we won’t want to give preference to diplomats. The diplomats are just as good as every other Nigerian, so we will take them all on board depending on who’s ready and available at any point in time.
“Our diplomats are there to coordinate. So obviously, they cannot be evacuated before the students and others. They have to be there to coordinate, maintain contact with the Sudanese authorities, ensure that there’s security being assured for the convoy for the journey, and keep in touch.”
The minister also gave an update on what transpired among Nigerians at the Ethiopian border, he said: “One of the first question regarding Ethiopia, there were seven Nigerians who came to the border apparently. And we’re not being allowed in apparently, for visa reasons. I reached out to my counterpart in Ethiopia, the minister of foreign affairs, who also is the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia. And I sent him the video one of the viral videos of the young person that was talking about their experience at the border. And there was some information he asked me to provide, get our embassy to get in touch with the Ethiopian Embassy in Sudan, Khartoum give the names which we did. And so, I believe the matter was resolved immediately after that.”