The Buhari-led federal government has disclosed that 1,519 stranded Nigerian students stranded in war-torn Sudan will depart the capital, Khartoum, through hired buses to Port Sudan and other designated border points before they will be evacuated to Nigeria.
The FG also clarified the controversy over the $1.2 million used to rent buses for the evacuation of stranded Nigerian students from Khartoum to the designated border point.
This development followed the extension of another three days of ceasefire agreements reached between the Para-military Rapid Support Forces in Sudan and the Sudanese Armed Forces.
Dr Sani Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary with the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, stated this while briefing newsmen on the current situation with Nigerian students in Sudan on Sunday in Abuja.
Gwarzo said, “We have given the bus company our word that under no circumstances shall they leave anybody on ground; even if it’s one more person that’s remaining, let them activate our reserve list and bring out the new buses.
“And I spoke to the student leader and the Embassy in this regard, so we’re expecting each bus will carry forty-nine persons and if you calculate this number times thirty-one buses, it will give you the number of persons to be evacuated today.”
He added, “Do you know how much it takes to hire a bus from Khartoum to the border?, is $30,000 per bus and you multiply it by forty buses, that’s where $1.2 million comes in.
“So, we transfer the first tranche of the money approved by the federal government, which is $400,000, to them as a deposit. If you take our $400,000, what comes to you is 1/3 of the total sum.
“So, they gave us thirteen buses times $30,000, It will give us $390,000, believing that will continue with the evacuation, but they stopped giving us buses, that our money has expired.
“And the transport company threatened that they’ll not move on with the evacuation process and whoever thinks that $1.2 million will be enough to move people from Khartoum to the border and airlift them to Nigeria is being economical with the truth.”