Over 500 Nigerian Students Stranded At Sudan/Egypt Border

More than 500 Nigerian students being evacuated from Khartoum, the capital of war-torn Sudan, to Egypt have been stranded on the northern and western borders of the two countries, Daily Trust gathered last night.

Over 100 of them are trapped in a village called Wadi Halfa, less than 100 kilometres away from Egypt over bus fares.

It was gathered that the Nigerian ambassador in Egypt and other officials were at the border waiting to receive the students, but they could not cross last night.

“No Nigerian student has crossed to Egypt. Sudan has not allowed them to leave the country. They charge $400 per vehicle and $10 per individual,” the source said.

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It was further gathered that while Egypt is asking for security clearance, the Sudanese soldiers were extorting the students.

“Some have crossed to Saudi Arabia through Port Sudan on personal arrangements,” a parent said.

Daily Trust gathered that the students in Wadi Halfa were dumped in an open space and have been sleeping on the bare floor.

In a voice note sent to Daily Trust, a source familiar with the situation said the failure of the relevant stakeholders to work collectively led to the situation.

He said the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan was not given the resources to pay for the buses.

“The basic issue that causes the problem is how the agencies saddled with the responsibility of repatriating the students failed to work harmoniously. The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are the relevant authorities working on this, but they refused to give the embassy in Sudan (Khartoum) the resources to pay for the repatriation. They just directed them to get the buses,” he said.

He added that instead of the embassy handling the whole issue, the relevant agencies said they would pay the money themselves, which they had yet to do.

Another source also alleged that the Nigerian authorities didn’t negotiate with their Egyptian counterparts to secure permission for the students to enter their country, which is also posing a serious challenge to the repatriation process.

“Now that they are less than 100 kilometres from Egypt, but they won’t be allowed in as there is no bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Egypt. Seven of them are in desperate condition, and they really need assistance presently. They were dumped in a village with no hospital, no food,” he said.

Meanwhile, for the remaining students that have yet to be repatriated from Khartoum, the source said their trip was being delayed because their payment issues were not settled.

“They were loaded into 27 buses at one university called Afriqiyya. Each bus carries 49 students, but as they were about to go, the drivers turned off the engines and directed the students to alight.

“So, they had to go back. They are still there in Khartoum, and nobody knows the situation they are in. Only God knows,” he added.



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