A group of 126 Nigerians who had been stranded in war-torn Sudan arrived in Abuja on Saturday, seeking refuge from the ongoing crisis in the country.
The returnees, including three students and 23 children, landed at around 5:15 pm on a Tarco Aircraft ST-TAL B737-300, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Upon their arrival, the returnees were warmly received by staff members from various organizations, including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, NIDCOM, and NAPTIP.
This latest group brings the total number of evacuated Nigerians to 2,660 in 16 separate batches since the onset of the crisis in Sudan. To assist them upon arrival, the returnees were provided with N100,000 in cash, as well as food and drinks.
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Mr. Mustapha Ahmed, the Director-General of NEMA, expressed the federal government’s welcome on behalf of President Bola Tinubu’s administration. He emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting the return of stranded Nigerians and noted that arrangements were being made to bring back more individuals from Sudan.
One of the returnees, Mr. Akwari Henry, who had been residing in Sudan for six years, expressed gratitude to the federal government for their efforts in repatriating them. Having experienced the trauma of the crisis, he expressed hope for a peaceful Nigeria and looked forward to restarting his life, particularly through opportunities in football.
Similarly, Mrs. Bilqis Bamijoko, another returnee, appreciated the government’s intervention, stating that the war in Sudan had left them sleepless and deprived of adequate food. She expressed relief at being back home.
The armed conflict between rival factions within the military government of Sudan began on April 15 and has resulted in widespread violence in Khartoum and the Darfur region, prompting the evacuation efforts.