By John Danjuma Omachonu
Nigerians students caught up in the war-torn Sudan have complained about alleged neglect by embassy officials as well as frustration, occassioned by lack of money to take care of themselves while waiting for the promised assistance from the federal government.
While those waiting for the buses hired from the approved $1.2 million by the government to transport through the road to Egypt were relieving their own stories of frustration and regrets, on the Channels Television, Politics Today on Thursday, monitored by metrobusinessnews (MBN), the first batch of students in transit were not faring better either as they complained that the drivers stopped mid way and insisted they would not proceed until they were paid the agreed money in full.
They complained that none of the embassy officials was on the ground to explain to the stranded Nigerians, especially the students why the drivers had stopped the buses over their claim.
In fact, one of the trapped students, Abubakar Sadiq, said that his colleagues were contributing money to transport themselves to neighbouring Egypt.
Abubakar who spoke to Channels from Sudanese capital, Khartoum said the existing ceasefire which lapses Thursday had been breached as they heard of gunshuts and bomb explosions few kilometers from where they were staying, adding that, “ If we do not leave here today, I do not know what becomes of us.”
He also said only about 588 students had left in the first batch, stressing that the situation for boarding the buses were chaotic as it was basically the “survival of the fittest.”
On their Stranded colleagues in the desert, he said the dangerous aspect was that the drivers had collected the passports of the students, while insisting that they will not move until their balance was completed.
However, he said sone of them had started discussing with their home state governments for intervention.
On when they will leave Sudan, he said he does not know the particular date they will be evacuated from Sudan as the Nigerian Embassy has not made any communication to that effect.
“There is no date because we didn’t receive any information from the Embassy. And today also, there is zero presence of the embassy, so we don’t know actually. Right now students are planning to gather money to transport themselves to Egypt,” he said.
He added that the criteria that were set for evacuating Nigerian students from Sudan have been abandoned, and it is now a case of survival of the fittest.
“The criteria were to select some percentage from each and every state based on the percentage of number of the state associations and that criteria was abandoned.
“It was only done for the first two buses that were loaded, but for the rest of the busses, it was the survival of the fittest, whoever goes in first he will not go out,” Sadiq stated.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had on Wednesday disclosed that the Nigerian government hired 40 buses at $1.2 million for the evacuation of Nigerian citizens from the war-torn North African country.
However, a video emerged on Thursday where some of the students lamented being abandoned in an unknown place in the desert.
ALSO READ:Sudanese Bloodbath: Nigerian Government Waiting For Authorization To Evacuate 5,500 Stranded Citizens
The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has since said that the issue has been resolved and the students were back on their way to Egypt.
Allen Onyeama, chief executive officer of Air peace airline had told Channels Television that he was prepared to airlift the stranded Nigerians back to the country free of charge.
According to Onyeama, once the diplomats approval was given for Nigeria for landing, for which he said discussions were going on between the two countries, his Pilots and the aircraft were on standby to take off immediately.
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