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Sudan Crisis: Reps To Probe Egypt’s Reluctance To Grant Returning Nigerians Access Into It’s Territories – Gbajabiamila

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Sudan Crisis: Reps To Probe Egypt’s Reluctance To Grant Returning Nigerians Access Into It’s Territories – Gbajabiamila

The House of Representatives will look into the remote and immediate circumstances that led to the hard diplomatic stance of the Egyptian authorities over the plight of Nigerians who were affected by the ongoing crisis in Sudan, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said.

 


Gbajabiamila also disclosed that the House would examine, to eliminate the apparent confusion over the roles and jurisdiction of relevant ministries and agencies of government in the management of the crisis involving Nigerians abroad.

 

Speaking on Tuesday during a situation report and update meeting on the evacuation of Nigerians from the conflict in Sudan, the Speaker said no room should be given to jeopardise the efforts of the Federal Government to safely evacuate Nigerians home.

 

“Our concern is to bring every Nigerian who wants to return home to Nigeria”, the Speaker stated.

 

Gbajabiamila was unhappy with the report that though Nigerians were evacuated from Sudan, they got delayed at the Egyptian borders because the authorities there denied them access to their territories to continue with their journey.

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He assured that the House would look into the matter and ensure that it did not happen again.

 

The speaker noted, “Now we know what has been done so far.

 

“It is also heartwarming that borders are now open in Egypt. But we will take it up in parliament to find out why they didn’t open the borders in time, especially in a period of crisis like this.

 

“We are happy that all 5,500 Nigerians willing to leave Khartoum have been evacuated and are on their way home to Nigeria.”

 

Gbajabiamila also said the House would revisit the law that made the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) the agency responsible for taking charge of such evacuations for a possible review.

 

The speaker said this has become necessary due to the lapses observed in the current evacuation operations as seen in the overlapping roles of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Humanitarian, Disaster Management and Social Development; the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM); and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

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Those at the meeting included the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubair Dada; Director General, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Social Development, Nasir Gwarzo; and other officials of government.

 

Gbajabiamila was briefed that so far, close to 5,500 Nigerians, the majority of whom are students, were safely evacuated from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, and centre of the factional military confrontations.

 

Giving the details of the evacuation operations, Gwarzo stated that though Nigeria responded immediately to the situation by using a multi-sectoral approach involving his ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NiDCOM, the plans faced some initial challenges.

 

He said these included the isolation of Sudan as a country from the outside world with loose financial operations, making it difficult to move funds easily for emergencies.

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Gwarzo added that the initial hitches had been addressed, saying that all Nigerians willing to return home had been evacuated by buses to Port Sudan, from where they would be air-lifted.

 

“Our work is 24 hours on and we are in contact with all student groups.

 

“Some of the videos you see on social media are a bit exaggerated and most of the issues have been well taken care of already”, the permanent secretary said.

 

He added that up to five airlines, including a Sudanese carrier, would be involved in the air-lifting, while another option of travelling by naval vessels within a seven-day duration was also being considered.

 

The Speaker however urged the group to consider the opinion of evacuating the returnees with large vessels that can accommodate almost everyone at once or twice.

 

He said the option would eliminate last-minute failure of air transport as nothing should be overlooked in a crisis such as Nigerians are facing with the Sudanese crisis.

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