FG responds to claims that it abandoned Igbos in Sudan.

The allegations that some Nigerians of Igbo descent were purposefully left behind in the ongoing evacuation of people of the country from the war-torn Sudan have been met with a response from the federal government.

According to the earlier allegations, the head of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was the one who issued the direction that the Igbo people living in Sudan should be ignored in favor of those from other ethnic origins.

Naijahotblog recalls a video that went viral on social media and claimed that Igbo indigenes were stranded in Sudan. In the video, one of the indigenes described how they (the Igbo) were ordered to alight from the bus so that Nigerians of other descent may take their place.

On the basis of this information, an Igbo youth organisation called the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has branded as barbarous and wicked the purported abandoning of Igbo indigenes in Sudan during an evacuation exercise.

NIDCOM, in its response to the claim, issued a statement on Tuesday, which was signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, the Head of its Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit. In the statement, Balogun referred to the allegation as a malicious falsehood.

It was stated there was no attempt made by those responsible for distributing the claims to cross-check the claim or acquire the perspective of the NIDCOM boss, Dabiri-Erewa.

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In the statement that Balogun released, he stated what transpired, which was that while passengers were being boarded, a number of individuals, including those who were not Nigerian, aggressively entered the buses through the windows, some of them armed with knives.

Because of this, the authorities decided to start calling people in according to the states in alphabetical order, beginning with Abia State. Their goal was to restore order and comply with the direction given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who had instructed that priority should be given to women, children, and students. This spurred the officials to start calling people in according to the states in alphabetical order.

The commission stated that they are unable to place blame on their own officials in the event that some individuals came after the allotted time or did not show up at the location where they were to be picked up.

In the statement, NIDCOM refuted any claims that the onboarding of nationals who were stuck in Sudan exhibited any type of racial or ethnic bias, and it exonerated Dabiri and all other officials from responsibility for any kind of wrongdoing.

In its entirety, the statement reads as follows: “It has come to the attention of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) of a fabricated lie from the pit of hell that the Chairman/CEO, Hon. (Dr.) Abike Dabiri- Erewa, prevented some Nigerians, especially of the South East extraction from boarding buses hired by the Federal Government to evacuate stranded Nigerians from the war-torn Khartoum in Sudan.”

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“The ludicrous charge, which was originally published by one Chukwujekwu Ilozue of the Daily Independent Newspapers on May 1, 2023, and syndicated by This Day Newspapers, Nigerian Tribune online, and other internet media, is the pinnacle of rascally and mischievous behavior.

“The aforementioned organization never made the effort to cross check the fake narrative that was sponsored about Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa or to seek her own side of the story before disseminating the misinformation all over the media in the spirit of fairness, balancing, and objectivity.

“The allegation made by the nameless group, a Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, (COSEYL), signed by one Hon Goodluck Ibem against the indefatigable Abike Dabiri -Erewa who was busy coordinating the two-day conference of Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS), with 64 countries in attendance in Abuja, is the most wicked, divisive, and a ridiculous fabrication.

“Reports from the personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the ground in Khartoum stated that when the boarding of buses began, the situation was so chaotic that some people—including non-Nigerian individuals—jumped in forcibly, some armed with knives, through the windows of the vehicles. The officials started calling people in according to the states in alphabetical order, beginning with Abia State, in an effort to restore order and comply with the direction given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs that priority should be given to women, children, and students. This instruction stated that priority should be given to those groups.

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“Reports from Sudan indicate that everyone who converged at the designated areas, were to be picked up, and have all been transferred in 40 buses either towards Port Sudan or towards the Egyptian borders. This was all done in accordance with the reports.

“However, if some arrived after the prescribed time or did not show up at the location of pick up, they cannot place responsibility on anyone else for their tardiness or absence.

“NIDCOM is focused, working with other relevant agencies,on the safe return of stranded Nigerians and will not be distracted by nonsensical, illogical, irresponsible, rascal, and unfounded comments meant to distract from the success, safe, and secure return of Nigerians from Khartoum, Sudan.” “NIDCOM is focused, working with other relevant agencies,on the safe return of stranded Nigerians.”

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