August 24, 2023

Embassy officials trying to leave Nigerians behind in crisis-laden Sudan – Source

Embassy officials trying to leave Nigerians behind in crisis-laden Sudan - Source

By Ayobami Okerinde

Four months after war broke out in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Nigerian embassy officials in Sudan want to leave five Nigerian women behind in the country.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), through the Federal Government, has so far airlifted over 2800 Nigerian students, with the last batch set to be airlifted soon.

However, despite the efforts of the FG, NEMA, and NIDCOM, embassy officials in Sudan are determined to leave five women behind, despite the FG’s commitment to ensure no Nigerian is left in the country.

A student waiting to be airlifted who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity noted that the embassy officials have no ‘clear’ reason for their decision.

He said, “We have almost 45 men and 8 women (including children) here in camp, but the embassy officials are saying they cannot take the women for the next evacuation process because they are done with taking women. 

“Some of these women are with their husbands, and one currently has a two-month-old baby. They have met the conditions of the FG, which are: you must be a Nigerian; you must have valid travel documents; and you must transport yourself to Port Sudan. All these they have met.

“You cannot expect the men to leave their wives and families behind and jump on the next available flight to the country.”

The student who commended the efforts of the FG noted that the embassy officials are working against the directives of the country.

“The embassy officials have isolated themselves, and we don’t get to see them; they only interact with us through an intermediary who doesn’t even stay with us and only visits once in a while.

“There are persons with no means of identification who they (embassy officials) are trying to take in, while they leave behind Nigerians with valid documents who moved to Sudan legally.

“There are allegations that they want to sell this slot to some people, which is not right because the FG through NEMA protects women and children.

“This is surprising because the Federal Government has done its best to evacuate Nigerians. The DG of NEMA and the DG of NIDCOM, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, did not say this. How come the officials insist they are not going to take the eight women?”

He further explained that the women currently live in deplorable conditions in Port Sudan.

“These women are currently living in a deplorable state as there’s an outbreak of skin disease in their camp. The sad thing is that some of them do not have the means to go back to where they came from; they had to spend days on the road before they arrived here in Port Sudan.

“We have exhausted the last relief materials brought by NEMA, and we are left to fend for ourselves. We go for hours daily without eating, and on some days we get help from some kind Nigerians who are also waiting to leave Sudan.”

“The fear now is that the school where we are currently based has informed us that once the last batch of Nigerians have been evacuated, they are going to send away any Nigerians left in the school, leaving them with no option.”

He appealed to the FG and NEMA to take swift action to ensure the women are not left behind.

“NEMA and the Federal Government have done a great job so far, and we are only appealing to them to see to this injustice perpetrated by the embassy officials.”