By Ismail Abdulaziz
Cooperation between Egyptian and Nigerian authorities was instrumental to the ease with which Nigerians stranded in war-torn Sudan were evacuated to Nigeria, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Speaking with NAN on Wednesday on the sidelines of the arrival in Abuja from Sudan, of the first batch of stranded Nigerians, the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ihab Awab, said the existing relations between the two countries helped to quicken the resolution of the challenges that emerged during the evacuation process.
‘’In spite of the initial confusion and absorption capacity issues at the border with Sudan due to a large number of evacuees, made up of Egyptians, and other foreign nationals alike, we managed to arrive at the reported arrangement and the process started.
‘’I believe everyone involved on both sides contributed to resolving the situation to the best of their abilities given the very difficult circumstances.
‘’We have been working closely and tirelessly with our authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Nigerian Embassy in Cairo ahead of the arrival of our sisters and brothers – the evacuees,’’ he told NAN.
Media reports had indicated that the situation surrounding evacuation efforts became positive on Sunday after moves by the two countries’ security and diplomatic agencies led to a quick resolution of some of the hiccups encountered earlier in the process.
NAN reports that the first batch of 376 Nigerians trapped in war-torn Sudan arrived at the Pilgrims Terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at exactly 11:30 pm.
Speaking shortly after their arrival, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, announced the donation of a N100,000 stipend courtesy of Dangote Foundation, adding that MTN Foundation also donated recharge cards worth N25,000 and 25GB data to each of the returnees.
Also speaking, the Sudanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Mohammad Yusuf, said the situation in Sudan would soon be brought under control.
Yusuf expressed happiness that Nigeria was able to evacuate its citizens safely.
The envoy, who described Sudan as the second country to many Nigerians, said normalcy would be restored in the war-ravaged country soon.
NAN reports that fighting broke out on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces, led by General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, led by Gen. Mohamed Dagalo.
The escalating conflict has so far claimed over 400 lives and left 3,500 persons injured.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Emmanuel Yashim