On Saturday, the Nigerian government defended its choice to spend $1.2 million renting buses to transport Nigerians out of Sudan.
“The amount in question was negotiated in a condition of war and where there are competing demands for the same bus services by other countries that are also trying to evacuate their citizens,” the administration noted in a joint press release by the ministries of foreign affairs and humanitarian affairs.
Since the ministry of foreign affairs announced the expense, many Nigerians have demanded an explanation.
The official statement claims that the uproar was unnecessary.
The ministries also cautioned the public against believing unconfirmed information shared on social media, since some of it may be the result of ignorance or pure malice.
“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 pleaded.
The ministries also gave an update on the first group of evacuees from Nigeria who left Sudan on Wednesday but have not yet arrived in Nigeria. On Friday, they were supposed to show up.
A total of 637 of them, according to the ministry, were transported in 13 buses and have arrived at the Egyptian border where they are awaiting the required paperwork and approval before being admitted into Egypt for their final transfer to Nigeria.
The Nigerian Air Force and Air Peace airline, which have been on standby for the operations, are anticipated to fly the evacuees to Nigeria in the ensuing hours.
29 buses are anticipated to transport the second group of people set to leave Sudan today to the same destination (Egypt).
“The evacuees are advised to be at the designated locations with only one luggage,” they stated.
Contrary to rumors on social media, Embassy personnel are present in Khartoum and working to organize the evacuation drill to the very end.
In order to maintain order and correct paperwork when boarding the buses, the government urged students and other Nigerians awaiting removal from Sudan to work with them.
“This will go a long way toward speeding up the process and avoiding unnecessary delays with documentation and clearance upon arrival at Aswan, Egypt,” it said.
The administration expressed sympathy for the afflicted Nigerians and emphasized the need of preserving law and order despite the dire circumstances in order to evacuate all interested Nigerians from the conflict zone as quickly as possible before the truce, which has been extended by 72 hours, runs out.
Additionally, it expressed gratitude to “friendly countries” that helped Nigerians fleeing the conflict in Sudan, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which helped with their evacuation.