This Day (Lagos)

4 January 2014

Nigeria: Crisis in CAR - FG to Evacuate 2000 Fleeing Nigerians

Photo: UNHCR
Nigerian refugees (file photo).

The Federal Government last Friday night began evacuation of Nigerians and some West African neigbours stranded as a result of the fighting in the Centrsl

African Republic with the arrival of the first batch of 365 aboard an Arik aircraft. The airlift exercise is expected to continue today as three jumbo jets were said to have been dispatched to Banjui in CAR to bring the remaining Nigerians back to safety

A source at NEMA told THISDAY that the agency had in collaboration with officials of the Foreign Affairs Ministry have so far documented about 2000 ready to be brought back through the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.

NEMA's Director of Planning, Research and Forecasting, Alhassan Nuhu who represented the Director General of the agency said the evacuees will be temporarily accommodated at the Hajj Camp, near the airport vicinity before all formalities are completed for their relocation to their various states of origin.

At the airport to receive the returning Nigerians late Friday night were NEMA team led by Nuhu and the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr. Martins Uhoimoihi.

THISDAY gathered that the Nigerian officials coordinating the rescue mission were facing some challenges identifying the country's citizens as most of them fleeing CAR have genuine travel documents.

It was learnt that even some those who got the Nigeria's rescue flight were discovered to be non Nigerians, while others most women claimed that they are married to Nigerians.

Officials of the Immigration Service were seen frisking and trying to sort out those that arrived the Abuja airport but could not explain their origin.

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