FG Uses Vehicles To Evacuate 5,500 Students, Others From Sudan As Crisis Worsen
The Federal Government has said that more than 5,500 stranded students and other Nigerians in crisis-laden Sudan will be evacuated by road.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known as the new development after one week of war between Sudanese army and the paramilitary.
Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today on Sunday, the minister disclosed that his ministry has been briefed that an estimated 5,500 citizens, which included students, workers and others are ready for the evacuation.
READ ALSO: Sudan Crisis: NEMA Hints On Planned Evaluation Of Nigerians
Onyeama stated that the evacuation plan to use vehicles became crucial following the attack on the flight of the French rescue team in Sudan.
He said, “We have been given the cost estimate and all the details. They gave us a figure of 5,500 who are ready for evacuation. Obviously, what you need in a situation like this is a place where everybody can congregate before you start moving them out.
“Because the airports, as you pointed out in your report, is out of commission. The only viable way out is by road. Of course, it’s totally safe. So we want to require the government to provide some security and a safe corridor out.
READ ALSO: Why We Can’t Evacuate Nigerian Students In Sudan Now – FG
“Our situation is particularly challenging because the numbers are so great. Some of the countries like the US and European countries have started evacuating. But what they’ve been evacuating were actually their diplomatic staff.
“They haven’t been able to start evacuating their citizens there. We can’t evacuate all our diplomatic staff at the moment because they need to also coordinate the evacuation of all those students that we’re talking about.”
Onyeama further said the ministry is taking careful steps not to endanger the lives of stranded Nigerians by soliciting security protection from the Sudanese authorities.
According to him, the three options available to accomplish the rescue mission include the Egyptian border, Port Sudan, and the Ethiopian border.
READ ALSO: Khartoum, Sudan Sees Lull In Fighting On First Day Of Eid
“So essentially, where we are at the moment is trying to get the authorization from the Sudanese government to undertake this long journey and for them to provide some security,” he stated.
“Now we don’t want to take any risk or risk the lives of any Nigerian. Because from what we saw yesterday, for instance, how the French in trying to evacuate their citizens came under fire. We don’t want to expose our brothers and sisters to that danger as well.
“We are doing everything we can to get the requisite approval for the Sudanese government at the very highest level. I was in touch today with somebody in the Office of the President and made a formal request to have a safe corridor to evacuate our people. And they confirmed that they had received it and they would be giving us attention.
“The three options available to us include the Egyptian border, Port Sudan and Ethiopian border.”
Tribunal Admits U.S. Court Judgment Ordering Tinubu’s Forfeiture Of $460,000
The Labour Party on Tuesday called its first witness in the ongoing petition between its candidate, Peter Obi, and the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President, Bola Tinubu.
Counsel for the LP and Obi, Jibrin Okutepa, stated that documents from number one to four together with receipts tendered are documents where the vice president, Kashim Shettima, accepted his nomination as the vice-presidential candidate of the APC.
The witness, Lawrence Nwakaeti, who is a legal practitioner, disclosed that he was deposed to the witness statement on March 20, 2023.
Part of the documents deposed to by Nwakaeti referred to the alleged $460,000 forfeiture by Tinubu to the government of the United States.
READ ALSO: UK, US, Saudi Arabia, Others In Bilateral Meetings With Tinubu
One of the grounds on which the LP and Obi are praying for the court to nullify Tinubu’s victory is that the president, Tinubu “at the time of the election was not qualified to contest for election to the office of President as he was fined the sum of $460,000 for an offence involving dishonesty, namely narcotics trafficking imposed by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Case No: 93C 4483.”
While answering questions during the cross-examination, the witness admitted that the judgment was not registered in Nigeria.
He also admitted that there was no certificate from any consular in Nigeria or America in support of the judgment.
He, however, maintained that “the judgment speaks for itself.”
APC counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, asked, “As a lawyer, you are aware that these documents are not registered in Nigeria and there is no certificate attached to the document from the US?” to which Lawrence replied that there are certificates.
“Is there a certificate from the US consular?”
“No certificate from the consular,” Nwakaeti replied.
He also said he had no knowledge of a February 4, 2003, Formal Clearance Report by Legal Attachee from the American Embassy in respect of the alleged indictment and forfeiture.
READ ALSO: BREAKING: I Will Never Call Tinubu ‘My President’ – Tunde Bakare
When asked by Fagbemi, SAN, to produce a copy of the charges against Tinubu, the witness said he had none but maintained that the forfeiture are from civil proceedings.
“You are aware that all the proceedings were civil proceedings?”
“Civil forfeiture proceedings,” the witness replied.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Justice of the Court, Justice Haruna Simon Tsammani has shifted further hearing in the petition till May 31.
Otti Freezes Abia Accounts, Sacks Boards Executives
Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, has directed the immediate freezing of all accounts of the state government and those of its agencies domiciled in every bank and financial institution across the state and around the federation.
He has also dissolved all boards of Abia State government agencies and parastatals and ordered the heads of all the dissolved agencies and parastatals to subsequently hand over to those next in line to them.
The governor gave the orders in a statement he issued through his media office on Monday, which was signed by Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.
The directive read in part, “With this notice, all banks and other financial institutions in the country are directed to immediately seize from honouring any cheque, document, instrument or directive of any kind not expressly approved by or emanating from him.
READ ALSO: Abia: Why I Accepted To perform At Alex Otti’s Inauguration – Davido
“Similarly, Governor Otti has directed the immediate dissolution of all boards of the Abia State Government agencies and parastatals and subsequently ordered the chief executives of these organisations to hand over to those next in line to them”.
The reporter gathered that the news of the sack of the former chief executives of the dissolved boards sparked celebration among staff of such agencies, especially those who were owed some months of salary arrears.
PICTORIAL: Obi, Datti, Keyamo Present As Tribunal Resumes Hearing
The presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, are currently in attendance at the ongoing presidential election tribunal PUNCH reports.
Former minister of state for labour and employment, Festus Keyamo, is also present at the tribunal and appearing as a counsel in the legal team of President Bola Tinubu.
Obi and the Labour Party filed a petition challenging the victory of Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, in the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.
READ ALSO: Peter Obi, LP Must Pay N1.5million To Access Documents – INEC
In the petition marked CA/PEPC/03/2023, Livy Ozoukwu, lead counsel to LP and Obi, said Tinubu “was not duly elected by the majority of the lawful votes cast at the time of the election”.
Among other allegations, they claimed that Kashim Shettima, vice-president, had a double nomination in contravention of the electoral act.
A proper hearing of the petition commenced on Tuesday and the first witness has been called.
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