Some Nigerians evacuated from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital are now left stranded in the dessert on their journey from Khartoum to Cairo after the drivers of the buses paid to evacuate them complained that the Federal Government has not remunerated them for the service and their fuel for the buses have finished.
In some reports in the mainstream Nigerian media, Nigerian Embassy officials were accused of abandoning the stranded Nigerians to their fates as they were not available to explain to the stranded Nigerians on what is happening.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the planned evacuation of 2,400 students and other Nigerians trapped by the ongoing conflict in Sudan got to a starting hitch on Wednesday morning as only 15 out of the 40 buses required for the exercise were provided. Additional five buses were provided later in the day.
The Punch later reported that Speaking with our correspondent on Thursday, some students fear that the three-day ceasefire declared by the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Force expires Thursday (today) and they are yet to make buses available.
The newspaper reported that Umar Abubakar, the President of the Jigawa State Students Association in Sudan, on Thursday morning said those who were evacuated from Khartoum to Egypt have been stranded since Wednesday at a border between Sudan and Egypt.
“Even those that left for Egypt yesterday are now stranded on their way because the drivers said they have not been paid and that they are not moving an inch until they are paid, or else they will drop the students there and return,” he said.
Another student, Idris Wakama, a student of Noble College in Sudan, Idris Wakama, told The Punch that the drivers dropped their colleagues in the middle of the desert.
“We do not know what is happening. They collected $100 from some of our students on the buses. The Federal Government needs to address the situation quickly,” he said.
The punch reported that its correspondent is in possession of a video showing the stranded students were long faces and looking frustrated in a quiet and desert environment.
One of the female students was seen yelling, “Before we started this journey, we fought and now that we have the privilege of moving, the drivers dropped us in the middle of this desert. We have been stuck here for five hours.
“We do not have money nor water. We are in an unknown environment and it is very dangerous.”
Meanwhile, there are still more Nigerians stranded in the Khartoum waiting for more buses to evacuate them. Dr Hashim Na’Allah, the Chairman of the Nigerian Community (Elders Forum) in Sudan, told The Punch that there is no concrete information from either the Embassy or the Committee in charge of the buses.
“People are sitting outside under high temperatures. The temperature is very high that people are thirsty. Nowhere to find water to drink or buy food to eat.
“In the next two to three days, if nothing is done to address this situation, Nigerian students might start dying,” he said.
A female student also told The Punch that the Embassy has refused to send in more buses for the evacuation.
“We are 150 females mostly from Jigawa and we are stranded. The Embassy said they are not sending buses to us.
“The bus owners have been complaining that they do not have fuel but we are not even seeing the buses. They are not ready to release any of the buses because people are running away from the country.
“Today is the last day of the ceasefire. We woke up to gunshots this morning. If we do not leave here today, I do not know what becomes of us,” she said.
In another video seen by The Punch correspondent, a student was seen crying and saying “Because your family, children, and nephews are on the bus, that is why we are left behind. We are afraid. We do not have water, hunger, and food. These soldiers, their barracks are very close to us here, (International University of Africa). There have been gunshots since last night. No one is here for us.”
Abubakar said he has been out since 5 am waiting for a bus to evacuate them.
“We are disappointed in everything. We are outside under the sun since 5 am waiting for the buses, not even one official from the embassy is around. Those people are just playing us along,” he said.