The delay in the airlifting of stranded Nigerians at Aswan Airport has been attributed to one of the requirements given by the Egyptian authorities to allow Nigerians to enter its border.
A message from the Nigerian Ambassador to Egypt, Nura Rimi, sighted by The Punch correspondent Monday, showed that Egypt had finally granted Nigeria’s approval, but on some conditions.
The conditions, according to the message, were: “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.
“Comprehensive list of the evacuees, with passport numbers; valid travel documents (passport or ETC; the presence of Nigeria Government officials at the points of embarkation. Standby buses that will immediately convey them to the airport.”
Explaining the delay in an audio Wednesday afternoon, an official said “Two aircraft, Air Peace and NAF C130, are supposed to airlift 350 passengers. Unfortunately, 26 additional persons sneaked into the buses. The Egyptian personnel were there. They counted and they found 376 Nigerians. They refused the 26 people to stay back at the airport and they also refused to allow Nigerian officials to take the 26 people back to the border.
“Now, they want everyone to leave. Neither will they allow them to go back to the border. The only option is to overload the aircraft. The pilots were consulted and they said they cannot airlift more people and have plenty of luggage.”
It was gathered that the issue had been rectified as the NAF was about to take off as of the time of filing this report.
The official said, “Eventually, Air Peace took all the luggage & C130 carried the extra people.” The Punch