We have no food, embassy not in charge of evacuation, ambassador cries out
Apart from the Federal Government figure of stranded Nigerian students in Sudan, unofficial account has disclosed that over 2,500 students are still trapped in the war zone.
According to the Sudan Old Students Association of Nigeria (SOSAN), the 2,500 stranded students, who are mainly females, are yet to be documented by Nigerian authorities.
Addressing journalists in Kano State yesterday, the president of SOSAN, Aliyu Abdulkadir, lamented that distress calls received from contacts in Sudan indicated that the lives of the affected students are in danger.
Abdulkadir, who spoke at Aliyu bn Abu Talib mosque, where they held a special prayer session for protection of Nigerians in Sudan, however, expressed worry that the innocent students were left without food, water and money.
Besides those abandoned in Sudan, Abdulkadir said credible information received confirmed that even the much pronounced 5,000 students, who have been transported to Egypt were yet to leave Egyptian border.
In his account, the transported students could not leave the border because they were not cleared to enter the country, while some were dropped in the bush by their bus drivers for row on payment.
He added: “The report reaching us right now is not palatable at all. Although there is no case of death for now, but some female students are being raped while gun battles have already reached the university environs.”
Another old student of Sudan University, Gambo Ado, said there are still many Nigerians stranded in the Sudan International University of Africa. Majority of them are female without food and shelter.
This situation was yesterday corroborated by the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Sudan, Safiu Olaniyan, in an update given on the situation in the war-torn country. The envoy gave the update while reacting to complaints and allegations levelled against the embassy.
In a voice note, the ambassador assured parents and students that the embassy officials were fully on ground in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, to ensure their evacuation.
He also clarified that the embassy was not in charge of hiring buses to convey evacuees out of Sudan, and pleaded with those aggrieved to rethink the alleged plan to attack embassy officials.
He said the Ministry of Disaster and Humanitarian Affairs as well as National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were in charge of the buses.
He said: “Good afternoon my fellow Nigerians. My name is Ambassador Olaniyan. I’m reaching out to you at this point on the issue of buses that’s creating tension everywhere.
“I just want to let you know that the embassy is not in charge of the bus contracts. We’ve 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 our own is to get the necessary instructions that this has been arranged, and we just give instructions to the students to meet at so-and-so place, and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“The present arrangement that appears to have broken down was also midwifed in Nigeria. We’re in contact with them to correct whatever is not right with the contract because students cannot continue to live on the streets. I want to assure you that we’re as vulnerable as you are and we’re not going to leave until all of you have been moved to safety and to Nigeria.
“And so, I’m urging you not to take any action like I’m hearing that you’re planning to attack the family of officers. The officers and myself are all as vulnerable as you are. We’ve no food like you, we’ve no water like you. We’ve no light like you. It’s not like we’re living in a different world. This is war, and it’s not tourism.’’
“So what you’re experiencing is also what we are experiencing. But I’m assuring you that everything that needs to be done is being done. And within a very short time, the issues will be resolved.”
Olaniyan said efforts were still being made to convince the Egyptian authorities to allow Nigerians fleeing Sudan to pass through their country, from where they would be flown back home.
With regards to those who are in the border of Egypt, the issue is for security clearance to be issued for the evacuees to be 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’s unfortunate that it has not been issued, but within a very short time, all this would be in the past.”
The Registrar noted that earth day is now a global event each year, and “we believe that more than one billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.”
He said planting trees, recycling, disposing wastes properly, and reducing the use of plastics has a huge effect on the environment.