The first batch of Nigerians evacuated from war-torn Sudan have returned to Nigeria. The evacuees, 376 in total conveyed in two aircraft arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja around 11:35 pm on Wednesday.
The Air Peace’s Boeing 777 aircraft conveyed 282 persons while the C130 aircraft of the Nigeria Air Force evacuated 94.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq received the students early on Thursday, May 4.
Farouq said, “Today, we are very happy to receive them. They have gone through a very traumatic period but we give thanks to Almighty Allah that all of them are back safely. No life was lost which is the most important thing. All the efforts put in place were not in vain. I thank every member of the committee that has put all efforts to ensure that these people are brought back safely and with dignity. We thank the transport companies for their support.”
The minister said each of the evacuees was given N100,000 cash as transport fare as well as other gifts courtesy of the Dangote Foundation and MTN. She added that efforts have also been put in place to ensure the returnees settle in restfully.
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“There is N100,000 that would transport them back to their families which is supported by the Dangote Foundation by giving them the transportation fare as well as the dignity kits and also 25,000 recharge cards from MTN and 1.5 GB data courtesy of MTN.”
Recall that the evacuation process commenced on Wednesday, April 26, when stranded Nigerians including over 600 students embarked on the journey from Khartoum, the Sudan capital, and arrived Egypt by road on Friday, April 28.
However, delays experienced at the border frustrated their entry in the Egyptian nation, thus leading to a five-day wait at the border.
Also, due to the delays at the border, the second batch of Nigerians was evacuated from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital on Sunday, April 30 was moved to Port Sudan, to be evacuated through Saudi Arabia.
More citizens are still expected to arrive in the country.
Speaking on the impact of the war, Farouq appealed to Nigerians to pray for peace in the country.
“War is not a good thing. People went to study and they became refugees all of a sudden. It is an international crisis and also a humanitarian crisis as people had no food, water, or where to go,” she said.