A day after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) frowned ar the Federal Government’s delay in evacuating Nigerians trapped in Sudan amid a raging war between two major military factions, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election, Mr. Peter Obi Obi expressed sadness and concern at the reported trapping of some Nigerians in war-torn Sudan and wondered why they have not been evacuated.
In a tweet, Obi said, “While we appreciate the extreme challenges in Sudan, we deeply implore the Federal Government of Nigeria to expedite all efforts to rescue about 4000 Nigerians that are mostly students in Sudan to safety.
The former Anambra state Governor remarked that since “the Sudanese crisis is not a natural disaster that happened suddenly, it will be sad to lose any Nigerian to the conflict, especially now that we need all hands to create and sustain a New Nigeria.
“Since it is the statutory responsibility of FGN to protect Nigerians at home in Nigeria and abroad, it is important that we attend to such issues with more deserving proactiveness and commitment as the life of every Nigerian is sacred and important. A New Nigeria is really imperative and Possible”, Obi pleaded.
Recall that in a statement signed by the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, on Saturday, the union said no Nigerian must be allowed to die in Sudan because of the negligence of the Nigerian government.
The NLC also described as unacceptable, the government’s “excuse that attempting to evacuate our nationals through the Airport is risky”.
The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had said the authorities were experiencing challenges, particularly with regards to airlifting Nigerian nationals from Sudan.
However, the NLC said that all options must be explored including working out a safe corridor to neighbouring countries to allow Nigerian citizens safe passage and evacuated through the various land borders.
It also suggested that “the government work out an arrangement with the international community to create a safe haven for all foreign nationals in the country to serve as a buffer to all foreign nationals against the vagaries of the War while peace effort is being made or other safer methods of evacuation are developed.”
“Our concern is that while our government resorts to the usual lethargy and excuses, the lives of our nationals in Sudan already exposed to serious danger may begin to experience losses or injuries. We urge the federal government through the concerned agencies and Ministries to take urgent step to avoid death and injuries to our citizens in that country,” NLC stated.
The statement further read, “Nigerians must not be allowed to die in Sudan because of negligence. No effort should be spared in ensuring their safety and ultimately evacuation to Nigeria if the War persists and escalates into a full blown war.
“It remains the duty of the government and we urge the federal government to make this happen unless they want to tell us that these lives are not as important as the lives of the children of those in authority and does not deserve to be protected?
“As we await a quick and positive action towards evacuating our citizens, we would want measures to be put in place to make their lives comfortable on arrival especially for those who own businesses in the Sudan and have suffered loss of businesses as a result. It does not make sense bringing them home without putting in place proper platforms to take care of their needs here.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has set up a committee to work towards rescuing Nigerian citizens trapped in Sudan due the current unrest in the North African country.
According the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the committee, which consists of professional emergency responders, search and rescue experts, “will constantly evaluate the situation and seek for the safest way to evacuate the Nigerian citizens even if it is through a country neigboring Sudan.”