Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo with members of the committee. Photo: Chinasa Ossai/Radio Nigeria
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and social Development says 31 more buses are currently leaving Sudan with Nigerians to the nearest evacuation borders.
The Permanent secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo said the 31 buses are an addition to the 13 that had earlier evacuated part of the 5,500 Nigerians from Sudan to the border of Egypt.
While fielding questions from journalist at the end of a closed door meeting with members of the committee, Dr Sani-Gwarzo said out of the 5,500 Nigerians, 637 have been moved out of khartoum to Egypt, but only 420 were cleared, and the Egyptians authority have not yet granted them access to the country.
“You need to pay a fee to exit a country and to enter a new country. What the Egyptian government is asking per evacuated citizens is $25 ,It’s not the money that matters is the evacuation.”
“It is sad to know that so far it’s been three days all the Nigerians have not been cleared yet, for reasons best known to Egyptian government. all high level consultations are ongoing. And I have every reason to believe that it will be positive.” Dr Sani-Gwarzo noted.
Dr Sani-Gwarzo said the Nigerians in Sudan who are mostly students would be moved to other border to avoid delays being experienced at the Egyptian border.
He said the Nigerian Air force plane is waiting to receive them at Aswan.
“possibilities of making sure that we have alternate routes have also been explored. It’s not just either Aswan of Port Sudan, we are considering whichever port is becoming more available. We have made our options open, it’s been four days in the Egyptian border. Nobody has been allowed, not a single person. Should we continue to enmass people in that border? Do you know what border means? there is no housing, no accommodation, the pictures you see are small villages where there is no roof. Do we send 2000 People, 3000 People 30 buses to amass in Egypt? so waited to recalculate.”
On the issue of payment, the permanent Secretary said, Federal government was not aware that the Sudan bus company does not receive deposits, as they gave the number of buses the deposit from the government covered.
“The bus companies will consider your advanced as your money, once your money is not there they stop at the number of busses they give you. That $1.2 million is not just for the entire response, It is only for one item , which is the buses. It takes $30,000 to hire a bus, then times it by 40 buses. And that is where the $1.2 million goes” He explained.
Dr Sani-Gwazo said an additional three buses will be added for a mop up operation after the evacuations have been done.
The permanent secretary added that the evacuated Nigerians would be welcomed at the Abuja Airport and urged the guardians and relatives to be patient with the government.
Reporting by Chinasa Ossai; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare