Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Director General, Mustapha Ahmed, revealed on Sunday in Abuja that 160 women claiming to be Nigerians in Sudan are unable to fly back to their country due to the absence of passports.
Speaking during a press briefing on the progress of evacuating Nigerians from war-torn Sudan, Ahmed emphasized the importance of verifying citizenship to avoid evacuating non-Nigerians.
While the Nigerian Diaspora Commission estimated approximately three million Nigerians in Sudan, including 5,000 students, the NEMA boss stated that the citizenship claims of many individuals could not be verified. Some claimed Nigerian ancestry dating back to their great-grandparents but were born in Sudan, making verification challenging.
Ahmed also shared an incident where desperate Sudanese attempted to board vehicles designated for Nigerian evacuees heading to the Egypt border. Regarding the expenses incurred during the evacuation, he did not provide an exact figure but disclosed that Nigeria paid $22,662 as exit fees and $62,950 for entry visas into Egypt.
NEMA highlighted that Nigerian citizens with verified documents are welcome to return to the country. Among the 2,518 Nigerians successfully evacuated, one pregnant woman reportedly gave birth while waiting, making her newborn the sole infant among the evacuees. The eight-day-old infant is currently receiving treatment for jaundice at the University Of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.
Fortunately, no Nigerian lives were lost due to the war in Sudan. However, 23 sick evacuees received medical attention upon arrival, with ten treated by medics and thirteen referred to the 108 Nigerian Airforce Hospital in Abuja.