As part of on-going effort to evacuate all interested Nigerian citizens from the armed conflict in Sudan, the multi-agency taskforce, Saturday afternoon, received the 4th batch of returnees who boarded Tarco Aircraft B737-300 from Port Sudan International Airport at 7.20am Sudanese local time.
Highlight of inter-ministerial briefing on the return on the new set of evacuees consisting 123 adults and eight infants by the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, indicated that they arrived at 2.35pm in Abuja.
According to Balogun, “Those who received them include the Chairman/CEO NIDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; DG NEMA, Mr Mustapha Habeeb; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs; Representative of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Sani Gwarzo; Representative of Refugees Commissioner, Mrs Iman Ibrahim; as well as other stakeholders who provided logistics support like Nigeria Immigration Service, Dangote Foundation, MTN and Hajia Asmau Yerima Mohammed representing Association of Parents and Guardian of Students in Sudan.
“The evacuees were assured that no Nigerian will be left behind in the war torn Sudan as President Muhammadu Buhari has given the committee the necessary support to bring back home any willing Nigerians.
“Another flight is being expected on Sunday and they are about concluding all the necessary clearance for them to take off.
“Three evacuees sustained injuries and have been moved to the hospital. One has injury in the hand while another one had abdominal pain. All of them have been stabilised.
“The committee reiterated that there is no ethnic segregation as being speculated in some quarters and the committee is intact and remain focussed in its mandate.
“It was announced again that post trauma counselling and psycho social treatment is being planned by NIDCOM in conjunction with the Ministry of Health as well as Refugees Commission in partnership with Aliko Dangote Foundation,” he added.
He further stated that, “In line with the traditional support laid down, each of the returnees were given N100,000 and a bag courtesy of Dangote Foundation, while MTN supported with a Sim pack and call credit of N5,000 as well as 1.5 G Data.
“Both NEMA and Refugees Commission provided those of them whose family are not in Abuja with transportation and hotel accommodation till they reunite with their respective families.”
On continuation of the returnees studies in Nigeria, he said the Committee assured them that there were plans to secure placement for them in their respective courses in Nigeria with the support of Ministry of Education.
“Most of the students interviewed regretted the war situation in Sudan and thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria for coming promptly to their rescue, pleading to hasten the evacuation of their colleagues still trapped in the war zone Sudan,” Balogun stated.