Reports alleging that some Nigerians of Igbo background were intentionally left behind in Sudan have been debunked.
Sudan is currently ravaged by war.
It was alleged that the chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa issued the directive for the Igbos in Sudan to be left behind in favour of other ethnic backgrounds.
A viral video that circulated on social media claimed Igbo indigenes in Sudan were stranded, while one of the indigenes narrated how they (Igbo) were asked to alight from the bus for Nigerians of other extraction to take their place.
Based on this, an Igbo youth-based group identified as the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) described the alleged abandonment of Igbo indigenes in Sudan during an evacuation exercise as barbaric and wicked.
However, reacting to the allegation, NIDCOM in a statement on Tuesday signed by its Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit, Abdur-Rahman Balogun described the allegation as a wicked lie.
It said those responsible for spreading the reports didn’t bother to cross-check the claim or get the side of the NIDCOM boss, Dabiri-Erewa.
Balogun explained in the statement that what happened was that during the boarding process, some persons including non-Nigerians jumped into the buses violently, some with daggers, through the windows.
This prompted the officials in order to bring sanity and to abide by the instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to instruct that priority should be given to women, children, and students, to start calling them in according to states in alphabetical order, beginning with Abia State.
The commission added that if some people arrived after the stipulated time or did not show up at the point of pick up, they can’t put the blame on its own officials.
NIDCOM in the statement, debunked any accusation of ethnic bias in the onboarding of citizens stranded in Sudan and absolved Dabiri and all other officials of any form of wrong doing.
The full statement reads: “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.
“The ridiculous allegation which was first 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 online media, is the height of rascality and mischief.
“The said group never bothered to cross check the sponsored false story on Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa or get her own side of the story before spreading the falsehood all over the media in the spirit of fairness, balancing and objectivity.
“The allegation by the faceless 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 most wicked, divisive and a ridiculous fabrication.
“Reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff on ground in Khartoum, indicated that when the boarding of buses began , the situation was so chaotic that some people (including Non Nigerians) jumped in violently, some with daggers, through the windows . To bring sanity and to abide by the instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that priority should be given to women , children and students, the officials started calling them in according to states in alphabetical order , beginning with Abia State.
“Reports from Sudan indicate that all who converged at the prescribed locations, were to be picked up, have all been moved in 40 buses either towards Port Sudan or towards Egyptian borders.
“However , if some arrived after the stipulated time or did not show up at the point of pick up, they can’t blame it on any one.
“NIDCOM is focussed, 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.”
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