First batch of Nigerians fleeing Sudan conflict arrive in Abuja

First batch of Nigerians fleeing Sudan conflict arrive in Abuja

The first batch of 274 Nigerians fleeing the Sudanese crisis have arrived in Abuja, the capital, after several days of waiting.

The returnees, who are mostly students, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, aboard an Air Peace plane at about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) C-130H plane conveying another set of Nigerians also touched down at the airport in Abuja at about 12 midnight.

The evacuees were screened by officials of the ministry of health and immigration upon their arrival in the country.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), had earlier informed newsmen that 376 Nigerians were expected in the first batch.

She noted that 90 persons, including women and children, were on the NAF plane while the rest were aboard the Air Peace plane.

Dabiri-Erewa, who was recently re-appointed to continue with the commission, also confirmed that There are more than 3 million Nigerians living in Sudan. “These are students coming back to their families; they are not refugees, they have homes. They went to study in pursuit of knowledge, so when they come home, they go to their families,” said Dabiri-Ewa. “The priority is for students, women and children.”

Meanwhile, the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Hajia Sadiya Farouk, said each returnee would be given N100,000.

“They’ve gone through a very traumatising period but we are glad…no life was lost,” said Sadiya Umar Farouq, who received the evacuees alongside other government officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

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The returnees spoke of how they were stranded for days in the desert and at the Egyptian border after authorities denied them entry for lack of proper documentation.

Recall that Integrity News reported that it took the intervention of president Muhammadu Buhari before the Egyptian authorities opened their border to allow the fleeing Nigerians to cross to the north African country.

More Nigerians are still expected to be conveyed from Sudan back home as fighting continues to spread in the embattled African country.

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