At last, the first batch of Nigerians fleeing from the war in Sudan are set to leave the Aswan International Airport in Egypt.
This comes amid explanation by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission that it had not received any money for the evacuation of Nigerians from Sudan, contrary to insinuations in some quarters.
There have been calls by some Nigerians, especially those with relatives fleeing from war-torn Sudan, on the welfare of the evacuees.
There were reports that a provision of $10,000 had been made for the feeding of the evacuees, but most have not had access to even food.
Giving the position of the NiDCOM on Wednesday, the Chairman of the commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said: “Just for the records.
“I think I said it before.
“Not a kobo given to NiDCOM for evacuation.
“And unfortunately our capital budget this year is about 47 million (Naira).
“If we had, we could have used.
“I can’t account for the monies released for this exercise cos ALL funds were released to Humanitarian, not even Foreign Affairs.
“Same with Ukraine.
“We still did all NiDCOM could do, without receiving one kobo from the 8.2m dollars.
“Citizens first and results.
“With this too, we can only do as much as we can.
“Govt needs to come up with a strategy and learn from these mistakes.
“In the meantime, we can’t expect luxury in a war situation.
“Everything is being done to ensure all return safe, thereafter, questions can be asked and lapses investigated.
“Everyone will return safely by God’s grace.”
Offering explanation on the state of the students at Waidi Halfa, top Nigerian journalist, Ali M. Ali, said: “The Waidi Halfa front is in dire strait ….our kids there are totally exhausted… their will power is slowly ebbing… a week in the ‘wilderness’ can break anyone…right now ….not a single means of transport to move them…a ridiculous amount is being charged by shylock transporters per head…battling nature and broke…someone should hearken to their cries for help …could someone explain to me what’s going on please?”
Meanwhile, following the sudden discovery of additional 26 persons on the number of persons on the buses that left Aqeen border of Egypt, the authorities of Aswan International Airport delayed the flights of both the Nigerian Air Force and Air Peace.
As earlier reported by The Eagle Online, 350 persons were scheduled to be on board the buses to Aswan International Airport from Aqeen.
However, by the time the headcount was taken at the airport, 26 more passengers were discovered.
This brought the number of passengers at the airport to 376, with the Egyptian authorities insisting that all must depart.
They said no one can be left behind at the airport and that the excess passengers would not be allowed to return to the border.
This then forced the crews of both the NAF, operating the Charlie-130, and Air Peace to tinker with the flight plan.
It was then agreed that in order for the C130 to take more passengers, all luggage should be given to Air Peace.
This then led to an increase in the number of passengers on the C130 to 94, with Air Peace taking the rest.
Dabiri-Erewa confirmed this development.
She said: “The NAF plane ready to take off with 94 passengers.
“Air Peace will follow.
“Hours of delays.
“The number of passengers did not match.
“Egypt insisted no one will leave if number’s more than aircraft can take.
“Bags in NAF were taken into Air Peace cargo to create more space.
“But now sorted.
“No more stories!!!!”