from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE outbreak of conflict in Sudan is pitting the Nigerian government against student’s unions and youth groupings in the West African country.
Tensions come amid accusations by tertiary students that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had failed to evacuate Nigerian students attending tertiary institutions in the volatile Sudan.
The hostility comes as other governments are making frantic efforts to evacuate their nationals in the conflict-prone Northeast African country that has experienced bloodshed since last weekend.
Nigerian students in Sudan have been quoted as saying their embassy has abandoned them amid the conflict deepening. The embassy argues the situation is not conducive for evacuations.
Unions representing students have stepped in, despite the evacuation of the scholars not being their prerogative.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Sudan has reportedly requested scholars to converge at its offices and two universities and bring between US$100 or $200 for their evacuation.
The Nigerian Embassy, based in the epicentre of Khartoum, has urged the tertiary students against the call, pointing out to the danger of evacuation of citizens without clearance and guarantee from Sudanese authorities
The embassy has instead called for calm and asked students and other Nigerians living in Sudan to remain indoors as it works on getting the final approval from the Sudanese authorities to commence their evacuation.
“The Embassy wishes to reassure the Nigeria students that their safety and wellbeing is of priority concern,” an envoy assured.
It is estimated some 4 000 Nigerians are trapped in Sudan following the violent clash between the rival Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), in the mostly Muslim north, said it was “uncomfortable” with the fate of Nigerians trapped in Sudan.
“It is totally unacceptable that while several countries were evacuating their citizens from Sudan, ours is the only African nation giving excuses,” Yerima Shettima, AYCF National President, stated.
He dismissed as “a lame excuse” a letter by the Nigeria Embassy about the difficulty of evacuating its nationals.
“No Northerner in this country is at peace since the killings and arson started in Sudan,” Shettima said.
AYCF has warned that it shall hold the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan accountable if “our innocent Northern brothers and sisters schooling in Sudan get killed in this war.”
“We wish to emphasise that on no account should these young and innocent Nigerians be left to their own devices, because they have a fatherland that has the constitutional and legal responsibility to protect the lives of citizens anywhere they are on this planet,” Shettima said.
– CAJ News