The federal government stated on Friday evening that a road evacuation of Nigerians from the war-torn Sudan was the only practical option.
This information was revealed in an interview with Channel Television’s Sunday Politics program by the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffery Onyema.
Recall that since the situation began in Sudan two weeks ago, Nigerians living there, including more than 5,500 students, have been pleading with the government to send them home.
He said: ”We have been working round the clock in the past two days to get Nigerians out of Sudan. First, we have told our embassy there to put up a platform where all the Nigerians in Sudan can log on to and information will be available, and to coordinate the process.
”Obviously, in a situation like this, what we need is where everybody can congregate before you start moving them out. And because the airport is not safe, the only viable way out is by road. ‘ ”Of course, it is not safe, but you will require the government to provide some level of security and a safe corridor.
”Our situation is challenging. We heard that the US has started evacuating her diplomatic staff, but they have not been able to evacuate their citizens there.”
Asked if Nigeria has evacuated her diplomatic staff, the minister said: “ No, we cannot evacuate our diplomatic staff at the moment because they need to also coordinate the evacuation of the students but we are going to evacuate them.
”Essentially, where we are at the moment is trying to get authorisation of the Sudanese government to undertake this long journey. We don’t want to risk the lives of Nigerians because we saw that the French in trying to evacuate their citizens came under fire.
”So we are doing everything we can to get the approval of the Sudanese government at the very highest level. I was in touch with somebody in the office of the president and I made a formal request, they said they had received it.
”The option available to us is the Egyptian border, which is close to Port Sudan and the Ethiopian border. There is a border with Chad as well but the three we are looking at are the Ethiopian border, Port Sudan, and the Egyptian border.”