The Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Sudan, Safiu Olaniyan, has decried the glitches in the efforts to evacuate Nigerians, including students, trapped in Sudan amid the ongoing insurrection in the country.
The envoy, who lamented that Nigerian students have been left stranded on Sudan streets, however, appealed for calm, explaining that the Nigerian embassy in Sudan was not in charge of hiring buses for evacuating the students.
He added that the stranded students were not alone facing hardship, as embassy officials were also impacted by the hardship occasioned by the fight in Sudan.
Olaniyan stated this while reacting to complaints and allegations levelled against the embassy.
In a voice note posted on NiDCOM Situation Room on Sunday, the ambassador clarified that the Ministry of Disaster and Humanitarian Affairs, as well as the National Emergency Management Agency, were in charge of the buses.
Olaniyan said “Good afternoon my fellow Nigerians. My name is Ambassador Olaniyan. I am reaching out to you at this point on the issue of buses that are creating tension everywhere.
“I just want to let you know that the embassy is not in charge of the bus contracts. We have not received any money from anybody to hire buses. We are arranging the logistics.
“Those who are arranging the buses are the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria, as well as NEMA. So, ours is to get the necessary instructions that this and this has been arranged and we just give instructions to the students to meet at so-and-so place and that is what we have been doing.”
The envoy lamented that the embassy officials were also without food, water, and light just like trapped Nigerians, assuring parents and students that the officials were fully on the ground in Khartoum, to ensure their evacuation.
The ambassador added, “The present arrangement that appears to have broken down was also coordinated in Nigeria. We are in contact with them to correct whatever is wrong with the contract because students cannot continue living on the streets. I want to assure you that we are as vulnerable as you are and will not leave until all of you have been moved to safety and to Nigeria.
“And so, I am urging you not to take any action like I am hearing that you are planning to attack the family of officers. The officers and I are all as vulnerable as you are. We have no food like you, we have no water like you; we have no light like you. It is not like we are living in a different world. This is war, and it is not tourism.
“So, what you are experiencing is also what we are experiencing. But I am assuring you that everything that needs to be done is being done. And within a very short time, the issues will be resolved.”
On the efforts made so far by the Nigerian government to ensure that the Egyptian authorities allow Nigerians fleeing Sudan to pass through their country, Olaniyan added, “With regards to those who are on the border of Egypt, the issue is for security clearance to be issued for the evacuees to be able to able to move across the border into the Egyptian border.
“All that needs to be contacted in Nigeria are being contacted for them to contact their counterparts in Egypt for this clearance to be issued. It is unfortunate that it has not been issued, but within a very short time, all this would be in the past.
“Once again, I urge you to be calm and await the necessary development. Nobody is sleeping. We know you are there because we are also here, and we are not going to leave you to your faith. We are in this together and we are not leaving until you have all left for safety and to Nigeria.
“So, we are all waiting for the action of the humanitarian ministry as well as NEMA in respect of the buses, and we are also waiting for the action of the authorities of Nigeria and Egypt in respect of the clearance that’s required to move the buses across the border.”