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Abubakar Babangida, president of the National Association of Nigerian Students in Sudan (NANSS), revealed this to Daily Trust yesterday.
This comes as the Nigerian government has stated that it is still consulting on the future course of action for the evacuation of Nigerians in Sudan.
This was said by the administration in response to a request made by Nigerian students in Sudan.
According to the Daily Trust, explosions and gunfire rang out in Sudan’s capital on Thursday, as violence between the forces of two competing generals showed no signs of abating ahead of Ramadan celebrations.
Over 300 people have been murdered in clashes between soldiers loyal to Sudan’s army leader, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Force.
Babangida told one of our correspondents last night that there were over 10,000 Nigerian students studying in Sudan.
He did, however, say that the majority of them were on vacation and that just around 4,000 of them were left behind.
He stated that the students, the majority of whom were ladies, were currently stranded in Sudan.
“Statistically, we have over 10,000 students studying in Sudan, but some are currently on vacation.” Currently, 3-4000 people are stranded,” he said.
The organization had previously written to the Nigerian authorities, expressing concern that its members were stranded in Sudan, without access to basic necessities.
It further stated that its members had faced serious threats.
“We hereby write, soliciting and yearning for the Nigerian government’s intercession to rescue and send for an immediate evacuation of the Nigerian students who are trapped in the heart of the ongoing war,” reads part of the letter written to the Nigerian government.
‘Our lives are in jeopardy.’
Some Nigerian students cried out yesterday saying they were imprisoned in their different houses and hostels due to continuous conflicts in the country.
Hussein Musa Yusuf, one of the students who contacted to Daily Trust via phone last night, said there has been a lack of water, food, electricity, and other essential necessities since Sunday, April 16.
He stated that they were unable to go out in search of basic necessities due to incessant shootings that had resulted in civilian casualties.
Yusuf, a Kano State native, added that if they are not swiftly repatriated, they may face danger because they lack access to health centers and pharmacies.
“Many students are stranded in their hostels and houses, deprived of basic necessities like food, water, and electricity.”
“At the moment, there is no access to hospitals or pharmacies.” If they go out, there is a risk because there has been firing and civilian casualties have been reported,” he said.
When asked if the Nigerian embassy in Sudan had contacted them about probable repatriation, Yusuf stated that they had not been contacted as of Thursday, other than the information provided in a letter released on Wednesday.
“Pursuant to undoing armed clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Force (RSF), which commenced on 15th April 2023, the Embassy is passionately appealing to all Nigerian nationals to exercise caution and restraint with respect to the circumstances we found ourselves in,” read the letter dated April 19.
“However, the Embassy is in contact with all relevant stakeholders in Khartoum and Abuja for the protection and well-being of Nigerians in Sudan.”
“Similarly, the embassy is planning to evacuate Nigerian nationals with the approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria as soon as the situation permits, and you will be notified in due course.”
She guaranteed that the NEMA, which is in charge of emergency evacuations, was engaging with the Nigerian mission in Sudan and other relevant agencies.
As a result, she asked all Nigerian students in Sudan, as well as Nigerians living in Sudan, to remain vigilant and calm.
Meanwhile, when asked for a response to the request by Nigerian students in Sudan, Franca Omayuli, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the federal government was working on something and promised to get back to our reporter on the matter.
When asked about the federal government’s strategy, she answered, “I will get back to you.”
However, she did not respond to our reporter before the deadline.
General Agwai discusses the Sudan crisis.
General Martin Luther Agwai (retd), a former Chief of Defence Staff, called Sudan’s current political turbulence as sad, adding that it is not the first time the country has encountered such a crisis.
He told Trust TV yesterday that the Sudanese ruling class wants power at any cost, including through the barrel of a pistol.
According to Agwai, who oversaw one of the world’s largest peacekeeping missions with around 20,000 troops and 6,000 police under his command, global, regional, and particularly what is happening around the Red Sea are the key elements driving the Sudan problem.
“That’s why, as you can see, every organization that believes they are strong enough wants to march on Khartoum and seize power.
“Sudan was the largest country in Africa, and we expected things to improve with South Sudan’s independence.” Unfortunately, power politics have entered the picture.
“It’s clear that establishing democracy in Sudan will take a long time because the military rule has been in place for so long.” And some believe that using the military is the simplest method to maintain political power.”
He stated that the current scenario in the East African country had been building for a long time, extending back to 2003 and that it was finally coming to fruition.
He went on to say that this was due to some Sudanese gaining economic power and military support, and so employing the same military to maintain control perpetually, “not really wanting democratic forces to take its course.’’
The retired general also stated that in addition to domestic issues, regional challenges and instability in the region were contributing reasons to the situation.
He recalls giving the BBC an interview in 2009, as he was departing Sudan as UNAMID Force Commander.
“I stated that if the situation in Sudan remains as it is at the time, and if there are no genuine efforts to return to the Sudanese democracy crisis, it will continue in the next decade.” That was back in 2009.
“And now, after 2019, we’re seeing a situation that is even worse than before,” he added.
General Agwai compared the situation to that of two captains flying an airplane. “You are aware that the airplane is in route to disaster and this is exactly what’s happening in Sudan,’’ he said.
“Remember, as well, that the military has a longer history than the Rapid Development Force.” They are at the epicenter of activity: they are in government institutions. Everyone knows who they are. They have folks that have been disciplined and trained to be where they are. You can’t say the same thing about the rapid forces.”
Sudan’s military, he claims, is a ‘bunch’ of people chosen from all over the place who are simply interested in power. “They’ve gained economic power while receiving little military training and discipline; their end product is power.”
He recalled a similar scenario while leading UNAMID in which the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group advanced as far as Omdurman, almost taking over the government.