Photographs have emerged of the first batch of 376 Nigerians caught in the raging war in Sudan arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday.
Nigerian Air Force C130 and an Air Peace aircraft ferried the evacuees into Abuja at about midnight on Wednesday.
The evacuees were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Farouq, and Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
While the NAF C130 ferried 94 passengers, Air Peace had 272.
Speaking at the reception for the evacuees who were flown in from Aswan International Airport in Egypt, Farouq announced a cash donation of N100,000 each for them.
The evacuees are also to receive airtime worth N25,000 and data.
The promise of cash and others were fulfilled immediately.
Farouq said: “Today, we are very happy to receive them.
“They have gone through a very traumatic period but we give thanks to Almighty Allah that all of them are back safely.
“No life was lost, which is the most important thing.
“All the efforts put in place were not in vain.
“I thank every member of the Committee that has put all efforts to ensure that these people are brought back safely and with dignity.
“We thank the transport companies for their support.
“There is N100,000 that would transport them back to their families, which is supported by the Dangote Foundation by giving them the transportation fare as well as the dignity kits and also 25,000 recharge cards from MTN and 1.5 GB data courtesy of MTN.
“All efforts have been put in place and everyone has contributed to ensuring that at least these Nigerians have some comfort when they return home.”
On the number of those who returned to the country, Farouq said:
“Today, we have received the first batch of the evacuees.
“The C130 aircraft of NAF brought about 94 of them, while the Air Peace, which I commend and appreciate the Chairman/CEO for the support and bringing back our nationals, they brought back about 282 Nigerians.
“They will be in the hall and they will go through a process of profiling and after which they will go through the immigration and they will be given their dignity packs for them to get back to their respective destinations.
“Some of them, their family members are here to receive them, while others would be under our care until they get to their families.”
Farouq said the evacuees had done nothing wrong as they went to get education in Sudan, admonishing Nigerians to avoid war.
She said: “War is not a good thing.
“People went to study and they became refugees all of a sudden.
“It is an international crisis and also a humanitarian crisis as people had no food, water or where to go.
“Nigerians should pray for peace and also not experience this kind of situation.”