, We Saw Hell At Borders – Nigerian Returnees -

We Saw Hell At Borders – Nigerian Returnees

In the midst of shouts and relief from family members and government officials, the first group of 376 Nigerians fleeing the situation in Sudan have been flown home from Egypt.

Some of the evacuees who spoke with reporters related tales of terrifying experiences as they fled the crisis-ridden North African nation.

The evacuees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Wednesday at around 11:35 p.m. on board a Nigerian Air force aircraft and an Air Peace aircraft, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Some of them claimed that after the vehicles transporting them to the Egyptian borders abandoned them, they endured dreadful days in the desert without food or water.

They disclosed that in addition to having to deal with the harsh policies of Egyptian officials, who delayed their admission into Egypt by requesting visas—an unethical practice for a population escaping conflict.

Upon arriving in Abuja, one of the refugees who went by the name of Mohammed spoke.

The crisis in Sudan is so severe, he claimed, that we had to hide for a few days before being rescued and sent to the Egyptian border, where we endured more atrocities at the hands of Egyptian officials before the Nigerian president intervened. It’s devastating, and I hope I never experience something like this again.

Third-year physiotherapy student and female evacuee said, “I didn’t know when the fighting started because we were asleep, but we just started hearing gunfire and rockets, and we had to leave where we were for safety.

“We had to depart for Egypt, and it was quite difficult for us. Life there was incredibly expensive, and some of us are poor. Children who were ill and pregnant people both existed.

She described how they slept in a car during the night, putting them in extreme danger, and how the situation worsened when they arrived at the Egyptian border, where officials there treated them inhumanely for more than five days.

When describing his experience, another student, Hakinabrat Hamzat, said, “It was all of a sudden. We didn’t anticipate it. We had just gotten out of bed when we began to hear bombs, forcing everyone to begin running.

“Because studying in Nigeria is difficult, I moved there to pursue my studies in Sudan. The International University of Africa is where I attended school.

Nearly 600 people have already died as a result of the crisis in Sudan, and thousands more have been displaced as numerous nations have evacuated their citizens from the troubled nation.

Some female returnees claimed to have experienced sexual harassment and to have been so impoverished as to have had to rob stores.

At the international airport in Abuja, a returning female student informed journalists that they endured humiliation and slept in the open.

“We used up all of our resources. We were quite thirsty and hungry. They were sexually harassing us. There was nothing to eat and nothing to drink. We eventually started taking items from stores and fleeing,” the returning female student said of her agonizing time at the border.

Another female student claimed in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service that her legs were swelled as a result of spending so much time in buses.

A male student described the ordeal, saying it was so horrible they even had to pay money before they were permitted to urinate.

He expressed the hope that the conflict would soon come to an end so he could return to Sudan and finish his program with just one more semester.

The National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons’ director of migration, Mrs. Catherine Udida, announced that 94 refugees were flown in by the Air Force plane C130, while Air Peace had evacuated 282 individuals.

Given what they endured in Sudan, the returnees were a big relief, according to Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, head of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.

At the General Aviation Terminal of the airport to welcome the returnees were the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq; the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the director general of NEMA, Mustapha Habib; security personnel; and some family members.

After the terrifying experience on their approach to the Egyptian border as well as the challenges and frustrations they encountered there, the Nigerians are believed to be relieved to be back home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *