The Nigerian government says 5,500 nationals would be evacuated from war-torn Sudan to the Aswan border in Egypt.
The government is unclear about the status of the evacuees, however. Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said no fewer than 5,500 Nigerians, schooling in Sudan, would be evacuated due to the escalating war in the country.
Geoffery Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs last week, announced that $1.2 million would be used to hire 40 buses for the evacuation. The country resorted to land travel as the warring parts in Sudan shell flights at sight.
JUST IN: Bus Coveying Nigerian Students from Sudan Catches Fire
The minister, further said the high cost of the evacuation was to render security cover for the Nigerians’ journey to the Egyptian borders.
Following a closed-door meeting at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry and Chairman of a Situation Room set up for the evacuation process gave a breakdown of the finances spent on the evacuation. Gwarzo said $30,000 was paid per bus.
N100,582 FOR EACH EVACUEE — BUT IS IT OVERPRICED?
As stated, the cost of $1.2 million was paid to hire 40 buses by the Nigerian government. This is equivalent to N553,200,000 [going by the official dollar-to-naira rate]. It, however, means transport fares of each of the 5,500 evacuees cost N100,582.
However, reactions had trailed the money the Nigerian government said it spent for the evacuation. In defence, Onyeama, said prices had hiked due to the ongoing war.
He said the buses were “negotiated in a condition of war and where there are competing demands for the same bus services by other countries also trying to evacuate their citizens.”
Checks by WikkiTimes provide insights into the cost of transportation between Sudan and Egypt.
From Khartoum, the Sudanese capital to Aswan, a city in Egypt bordering the warring country, the nearly 18 hours trip cost $62–89 [N28,582 — N41,029]. This excludes rental services. Further checks on companies — SixT, Hertz and Expedia among other — that offers car rental services proved abortive as they have no cars available between the mentioned axis.