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Egypt opens border for Nigerian students fleeing Sudan, says FG



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The Egyptian government has finally opened its border to Nigerian students fleeing the crisis in Sudan to be evacuated home.

Recall that the students had been stranded in the Egyptian-Sudanese border, following the refusal of the government of Egypt to grant them access to the airport in its territory where they are to be airlifted.

But chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said yesterday that Egypt had finally opened its border for the students to be evacuated but with some strigent conditions.

She said the border was opened after President Muhammadu Buhari spoke with his counterpart in Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, adding that some strigent conditions were given for the students to be airlifted.

“The border has just been opened, ( with stringent conditions ) after President Buhari’s intervention with the Egyptian President. So, the processing of evacuees by the Nigerian Embassy in Egypt will begin,” Dabiri-Erewa said.

Vanguard learned that the conditions include“details and schedule of the aircraft; capacity of the aircraft; a strong pledge that once our citizens depart the border, they will be conveyed directly to the designated airport.”

Others are “comprehensive list of the evacuees, with passport numbers; valid travel documents (passport or ETC); the presence of Nigerian government officials at the points of embarkation; and standby buses that will immediately convey them to the airport.”

The students, alongside other nationals, had been stranded at the Egyptian border since Thursday evening.

Dabiri-Erewa had said the Egyptian authorities were insisting on visas, adding that the Nigerian mission in Egypt had been working tirelessly to rectify the issue.

Also recall that the first set of evacuated Nigerians were initially expected to arrive in the country on Friday.

Bus conveying stranded Nigerians from Sudan catches fire

In a similar development, one of the 26 buses conveying the stranded Nigerians that left Al Razi around 12am on Monday for Port Sudan caught fire yesterday,

An eyewitness, Sani Aliyu, who disclosed this, said: “One of the buses conveying some 50 Nigerian students from Sudan with a tag number (Katsina 1) heading to Port Sudan as part of the second batch of FGN evacuation, got damaged due to excessive heat from one of the vehicle’s tyres.

“Dr Hashim Idris Na’Allah, the chairman of the Nigerian Elders’ Forum in Sudan, was one of the passengers in the said bus, which contained a total of 50 students (49 males, 1 female).

“The incident happened around 2:30am Sudan time. The driver stopped the bus near an RSF checkpoint, just before the tyre exploded in fire.

“All the passengers escaped unhurt. Forty out of the 50 passengers were later distributed to other buses evacuating the students, while the remaining passengers spent the night where the incident happened, alongside the driver at the RSF checkpoint.

“The students said the RSF really did their best to help the passengers and offered them cups of tea in the morning before they left.”

Over 1000 Nigerians are being evacuated through the Port Sudan route, following difficulties faced in getting the first batch of evacuees across the Egypt borders.

The stranded Nigerians have spent five days at the borders as the Egyptian officials denied them access into the country where flights are already waiting to airlift them to Nigeria.

All Nigerian students evacuated from Khartoum —Association

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, in Sudan has also said all Nigerian students stranded in the war-racked North African country had been evacuated from the country’s capital, Khartoum to the Egyptian border.

The Public Relations Officer of the association, Amal Pantami, who disclosed this in a statement late Sunday, said: “This is to inform the general public that all the remaining Nigerian students have been evacuated from Khartoum.

“There were a total of 26 buses and each bus contained about 50 people. We continue to ask for everyone’s prayers and we hope all the students are able to reach Nigeria safely. We’re ever grateful for your continuous support and prayers.”

More than 500 people have been killed and tens of thousands of people have fled since battles between two groups, the Army and Paramilitary Frontier Forces, led by two generals, erupted on April 15.

The Federal Government on Sunday said it spent $1.2m on bus fare to evacuate the stranded Nigerians to Egypt borders for onward airlifting to Nigeria.

The fighting pits the forces of army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against his ex-deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the Rapid Support Forces, RSF, a heavily armed paramilitary group.

The federal government has already positioned Air Peace, which offered to conduct the airlift free of charge, and the Nigerian Air Force, NAF.

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