The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, says the Federal government is addressing claims that some Nigerian students fleeing crisis-ridden Sudan are being denied entry into Ethiopia.
In a video that went viral, a young man claimed that as the crisis in the North Eastern African country continues, many Africans trapped in the country have fled to the Ethiopian border in their bid to cross over to safety. The young man claimed that all other Africans were being allowed to cross into Ethiopia except Nigerians.
In an interview with Channels TV this evening, Onyeama said the Federal government is doing everything within its power to safely evacuate Nigerian students and other Nigerian nationals trapped in the country. Onyeama said the Nigerian government has been working round the clock in the last two days to evacuate the Nigerians. He said he has made contacts with Ethiopian authorities and efforts are being made to resolve the issue.
‘’First of all we have an embassy there and that’s a good thing and we have told them to put up a platform where all the Nigerians in Sudan can log on to so information will be available and to coordinate the process. What you need in a situation like this is a place where everybody can congregate before you start moving them out. The airport is out of commission and so the only viable way out is by road’.
The options available to us are the Egyptian border which is close, Ports Sudan is another place where we understand that some of the international diplomatic people have been congregating and the Ethiopian border. Then there is a border with Chad as well but the three we are looking at are the Ethiopian border, Port Sudan and the Egyptian border.
The Ethiopian border, there was a video that went viral that said that Nigerian students, some of whom got to the border, were not being allowedinto Ethiopia. So I called the Deputy Prime Minister who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I put this to him, sent him the video and told him we really needed to sort that out. He was very supportive and asked for some information which we have provided to try to quickly sort out that situation.”
He further stated that the evacuation will require the Sudanese government to provide security and a safe corridor out of their country. He said Nigeria’s situation is particularly challenging because the number of Nigerians in the country are much.
According to him, there are 5,500 Nigerians in the country and 80 percent of them are students. He said it is believed that Sudan hosts the largest number of Nigerians in the diaspora. He said many Nigerians are there because Sudan has a good educational system.