The Federal Government has said that if four aircraft were made available to move at once, every Nigerian in Sudan will be evacuated.
Following days of trying to flee the ongoing fighting, the first group of numerous Nigerians trapped in Sudan arrived in Abuja on Wednesday.
More than 3,500 Nigerians are reportedly included by the evacuation plan, although the actual figure may be higher because it is thought that over 5,000 Nigerians, many of them students, are living in Sudan.
Yesterday around 11:40 p.m., 260 passengers from the Nigerian commercial airliner Air Peace arrived in Abuja, while 94 passengers from a Nigerian Air Force plane arrived a short time later.
Meanwhile, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said if four aircraft can move at once, every Nigerian stranded in Sudan will be brought home.
While awaiting the arrival of the two Egyptian planes, she said this last night at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.
She added that another 3,000 stranded Nigerians were anticipated to return home and that if four airplanes could move at once, everyone would undoubtedly arrive.
Egyptian officials, according to Dabiri-Erewa, are adamant that the planes dispatched from Nigeria must be able to accommodate the number of Nigerians that are available; otherwise, they won’t be permitted to evacuate anyone.
She said: “If four planes go at the same time, they will bring everybody back. Most importantly, we hope those over there come back speedily.
“We are expecting that with the arrangements made by NEMA, it is going to be more planes because Egypt makes it difficult.
“Egypt says if the number of people you brought is let’s say 200 and the aircraft can only take 150, then nobody will leave.
“They want you to pick the number of people that you are bringing into their borders.
“At the Port Sudan, we are trying to get tickets because it is even more difficult to get flight to Port Sudan but they have an airline.
“So they are processing them now to get them tickets and then they come back home. And if other airlines get the landing permit, they will quickly go to help evacuate them.
“At least, they are coming back home and we are glad no life was lost and priority was given to students, women and children. So, let’s just set our eyes on that,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerians that returned last night have said they surferred.
A returnee female student told journalists they faced humiliation and slept in the open.
“We spent all the money we had. We were so hungry and thirsty. They were harassing us sexually.
“There was no food, no water to drink. It got to a point we picked things from shops and ran away,” she said.
Another female student told the BBC Hausa Service that their legs were swollen due to long hours of stay in the bus.
Another person claimed that the situation was so awful that they even had to pay money in order to urinate.
He does, however, desire an end to the conflict so he can return to Sudan and finish the final semester of his program there.
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