With there being no sign of when the situation in war-torn Sudan will normalise, the Nigerian governments and local universities are making plans to admit some of the estimated 5,000 students, in a move that could ensure they complete their studies on time.
The Nigerian in Diaspora Commission, the body mandated with handling the affairs of the country’s citizens living abroad, is leading the efforts liaising with the universities to ensure continuation of education at home for those willing to complete their studies there.
The commission was following in the steps it took during the Ukraine crisis when some of the 4,300 students in the country last year were absorbed by local universities after returning with the assistance of NiDCOM chairperson of the Nigerians Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
“When evacuees come back and want to continue their education here, they can contact the universities”
“In fact, universities are already offering and have reached out to us so that when they [evacuees] do come back and want to continue their education here, they can contact the universities,” she is quoted saying to a local television channel.
Giving an assurance that the returned getting placed in local universities would not be a problem, the official said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had created a division so that those who are interested in completing their studies were given an opportunity to do so.
But even as evacuation of some 5,500 from the north African country commenced over the weekend, the exercise has been marred by reports of Nigerian embassy staff in Khartoum allegedly extorting money to facilitate repatriation.
Relying on testaments from two sisters said to be former students of International University of Africa in Khartoum, online sews site Sahara Reporters reported that they were asked to pay over US$100 in order to be evacuated.
Two affected Nigerian sisters told the news website that some embassy staff in Khartoum first asked them to pay $75 each, which they requested from their families in Nigeria, before they were later asked for an additional $50 each to facilitate their evacuation.
“The staff collected over $250 from us in the name of evacuation,” one of them reportedly told the publication on Sunday.
The news came as it emerged that another 2,500 ‘undocumented’ individuals could not be rescued because the embassy could not issue them with identification and travel papers as of last Sunday. The students said that as a result they were trapped in the country in the midst of fighting without food or water.
Thousands of students from Egypt, Nigeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Chad, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia have been caught up in the fighting that began on April 15 between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.