The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has revealed that the Federal Government would evacuate stranded Nigerian students in Khartoum, Sudan.
He stated that the students would be repatriated free of charge.
Responding to a question during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Wednesday, Onyeama explained that the government could not foot the bill for the evacuation of Nigerians in other foreign countries due to financial constraints.
The Minister had previously said that over 2,000 Nigerians who registered for evacuation would pay for their COVID-19 tests and return flight.
But explaining the decision to bring home the students free of charge, he said, “We have some students who are stuck in Khartoum Sudan. Of course, we have to bend backward to find the resources to pay for their return and also for their two-week isolation, but unfortunately, for all the others, we don’t just have the financial resources.”
The Minister expressed regrets over the inability of the government to finance the evacuation of other Nigerians, noting that the FG would have been happy to do so if it had the resources.
Onyeama added, “It is a source of great regrets for the government that we are not in a position to pay. If we had the resources, we would be more than happy to pay for their return tickets and their stay at isolation centres for two weeks.
“In terms of the timeline, we ought to have started the evacuation process, but we have huge numbers of our brothers and sisters all around the world and we really want to get it right.”
He stated that the evacuation might take a little longer on account of the logistics required in repatriating the huge numbers of those who indicated an interest in returning home.
He said the government was being careful in its plans, adding that it wished to get everything right.
“It is a delicate exercise; we have seen some of the other countries who have evacuated their nationals from Nigeria. Some of the horrid situation the intending passengers had to go through in Lagos airport and we want to avoid those kinds of situation and make sure we get everything right and that might, unfortunately, necessitate our taking a little longer,” the minister said.

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