14 July 2016
Nigerians have been assured that the Federal Government has not neglected her citizens in Juba, South Sudan, as discussions about their safety are ongoing.
Senior Special Assistant to President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said on Thursday in Abuja that plans had been on to evacuate Nigerians from the war- torn country.
She said, however, that the delay in evacuation was due to logistics and the non-willingness of those affected to return to Nigeria.
Dabiri Erewa who spoke through her media aide, Mr Abdul-Rahaman Balogun, dismissed the claim that 100 Nigerians living in Juba were stranded.
He said that the Federal Government had offered to evacuate Nigerians from Juba at the early stage, but the delay was due to logistics, but that there was no immediate threat to their security and safety.
Many refused to return due to their businesses that needed to be secured.
“Many of them demanded they should be evacuated to neighbouring countries like Kenya, the DR Congo or Central African Republic because of their investments in Juba,’’ Balogun said.
According to him, most of them have very good investments in Juba and they are afraid of losing them, so they don’t want to be far away from even if they are evacuated.
Balogun assured that there had been a regular contact with the Nigerian Mission in the country and necessary steps were being taken to ensure safety of the Nigerians.
He explained that although relative calm had returned to South Sudan, the Federal Government was still ready to evacuate those willing to return home.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Clement Aduku, had earlier said that the ministry was monitoring the situation in Juba.
Aduku said that the Nigerian Mission in South Sudan was in contact with the ministry, while assuring that the welfare of Nigerians in that country is guaranteed.
Fighting broke out between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those of his deputy, First Vice-President Riek Machar in Juba on July 7.
Hundreds of people, mostly soldiers, have been reportedly killed in the fighting between rival armed groups since then, raising fears of a slide into an all-out conflict.
A report says that an uneasy calm returned to Juba on Tuesday after five days of fierce fighting between the troops.
The relative calm comes after the two leaders ordered a ceasefire and directed all commanders to lay down arms and report to their unit bases.
No fewer than 272 people have been killed in the renewed fighting that threatened to plunge the world’s youngest nation into an all-out war.