NEMA DG: In Sudan Crisis, No Nigerian Life Was Lost

The National Emergency Management Agency has said that no Nigerian has lost a life in the Sudan crisis so far or during the evacuation, as the 15th flight on Saturday marks the conclusion of the evacuation of the stranded students that were profiled for airlift back home.

The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),  Mustapha Habib Ahmed said this on Sunday during a media interaction on the evacuation of stranded Nigerian citizens from Sudan back home to Nigeria.

He further said that a total of 23 sick evacuees were received. Out of these, 13 were treated on arrival by officials of NEMA, Port Health, and other medical personnel within the airport, while 13 were referred to 108 Nigerian Air Force hospitals in Abuja. Among these was one that was a day old.

“Baby who was delivered while the mother was awaiting evacuation at Port Sudan The baby is currently being treated for jaundice. A patient with a hand injury at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada is being treated at the Federal Medical Centre in Jabi, Abuja. Mustapha Habib Ahmed said.

The statement read, “On receiving a directive from the President, NEMA swung into action by identifying the safest route to evacuate our citizens in safety and dignity. Egypt was identified, and an advance team led by myself, the Director General, some NEMA staff, and stakeholders immediately traveled there, where we engaged with the Nigerian Mission in that country and secured approval to use the airport in Aswan for the airlift of our citizens across the border from Sudan.

“Consequently, arrangements were made; local transporters were engaged to move our citizens from Khartoum through to the border towns of Argeen and Wadi Halfa. Negotiations for the transportation were done under tense and conflicting circumstances, but we thank God that we were able to succeed in engaging several buses for the movement of the first batch of our citizens out of danger to the Egyptian border.

“However, with the experience of the diplomatic requirements that caused some delays in their movement across the borders to Aswan, a decision was taken that the remaining Nigerians desirous of evacuation back from Khartoum should be rerouted to Port Sudan, from where they were airlifted to Abuja.

The NEMA DG thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the evacuation operation, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Godfrey Onyeama, and the ministries for their support towards the success of the operations.

He equally thanked the staff of the Nigerian Embassies in Egypt and Sudan and used the opportunity to also thank various stakeholders, especially the Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Dr. Abike Dabin-Erewa, and the Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons, Hajiya Imaan Ibrahim-Sulaiman.

“The Agency will like to express its gratitude to the Chairman of Air Peace Ltd., Mr. Allen Onyeama, for the bold decision to evacuate the Nigerian returnees for free from Aswan, Egypt. It also thanks Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who, through his Dangote Foundation, gave tokens of N100,000 and dignity packs to each of the returnees. Equally, I thank the MTN Foundation for giving the returnees free SIM cards and airtime worth N25,000 and 1.5 gigabytes of data, Mustapha Habib Ahmed said.

He equally commended NEMA staff for their commitment to the evacuation operations, especially members of the advance team that spent days in the desert, sleeping in the open with Nigerians there, and those of the ground operation that worked day and night to ensure the comforts of the returnees.

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