The fate of many Nigerians stranded in Sudan is hanging in the balance as a result of controversy involved in the evacuation process.
A source privy to the evacuation exercise told Daily Trust that the some Nigerians billed to be evacuated had been abandoned by the embassy officials, who allegedly joined their families to Cairo, capital of Egypt.
As a result of the shutting down of Sudanese airspace, flights meant to convey people leaving Sudan have been landing in Egypt and neighbouring countries.
The Federal Government had made arrangement for Sudan evacuees to be moved to Cairo by road from where they would join flights back home.
The evacuation process began after the warring factions in Sudan agreed to a three-day ceasefire.
Daily Trust had reported how some Nigerians were stranded en route to Cario, but the issue was resolved following intervention of top government officials.
However, the Sudanese warring factions extended the ceasefire by three days, starting from Friday.
But the evacuation process could not continue as officials had reportedly fled Sudan.
This led to a protest at the venue of evacuation in Khartoum.
The protesters reportedly held one Ibrahim Abdallah, a bureau de change operator ransom, beating him mercilessly.
In addition to receiving a cash transfer meant to finance the journey, Abdallah was said to have been involved in bus provision.
In video and audio clips made available to Daily Trust, Abdallah was heard saying that the amount sent as deposit was $250,000 which has been exhausted.
He said the balance is yet to be sent, disclosing that about 25 buses billed to evacuate other stranded Nigerians have since withdrawn participation in the exercise and the officials were not responsive.
On Wednesday, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), had said there were at least three million Nigerians in the East African country, but the Federal Government would evacuate as many as it could.
Dabiri-Erewa did not respond to inquiry on the latest situation in Sudan as here phone line rang out and she did not reply a text message sent.
The spokesperson for NIDCOM, Gabriel Odu, said he did not have the authority to comment on the issue and asked our correspondent to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for comment.
But a senior NEMA official, who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said it was not possible the officials abandoned the stranded Nigerians.
“NEMA DG is on the ground to oversee the evacuation. So it is not possible that the officials working under his supervision would flee when he is on the ground,” the source said.