The first batch of evacuees from the war-torn Sudan to Egypt arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday.
The evacuees were the first batch who arrived at the Argeen border last week Wednesday, April 26 for airlifting in Aswan Egypt.
The first batch of evacuees experienced some delays due to the formalities issued by the Egyptian authorities to enable them to be airlifted to Nigeria.
In an audio sent to the Nigerian in the Diaspora Commission Situation Room on Wednesday, a Nigerian official explained the reasons for the delay in the airlifting of stranded Nigerians who ought to have arrived in the country earlier today.
The official explained, “Two aircraft, Air Peace and NAF C130, are supposed to airlift 350 passengers. Unfortunately, 26 additional persons sneaked into the buses. The Egyptian personnel were there. They counted and they found 376 Nigerians. They refused the 26 people to stay back at the airport and they also refused to allow Nigerian officials to take the 26 people back to the border.
“Now, they want everyone to leave. Neither will they allow them to go back to the border. The only option is to overload the aircraft. The pilots were consulted and said they could not airlift more people and have plenty of luggage.”
However, the Air Peace plane arrived at 11:35 pm with 278 passengers while NAF C130 arrived at 11:55 pm with 98 passengers.
The Chairman, of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa expressed hope that those yet to arrive would be airlifted speedily.
Dabiri-Erewa said, “Everyone is excited to receive them. We hope that those over there will come back speedily. We are expecting that with the arrangements made by NEMA, there are going to be more planes because Egypt makes it difficult.
“For stranded Nigerians at Port Sudan, they are trying to get tickets because it is even more difficult to get flights to Port Sudan. But they have an airline. They are processing it, and once they get tickets, they will return home. If other airlines get the landed permits, they will quickly go and airlift stranded Nigerians. We are glad that no one lost his or her life. Priority was given to women and children.”
The PUNCH reports that Dabiri-Erewa had revealed that the first batch of those evacuated from Sudan would arrive in Nigeria Wednesday night.
She made this disclosure on her Twitter handle on Wednesday.
She tweeted, “Finally, homeward bound as the NAF C-130H aircraft has departed Aswan and is expected to touch down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja by 2340hrs (11.23 pm) tonight. #Sudan. We pray for journey mercies.”