The Federal Government has described as a wicked lie the allegation that some Nigerians of Igbo extraction were left behind in Sudan.
NIDCOM also debunked any accusation of ethnic bias in the onboarding of citizens stranded in Sudan and absolved the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa and all other officials of any form of wrong doing.
One of the Igbo indigenes stranded in Sudan had in a viral video accused Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa of issuing a directive that the Igbos should be left behind in favour of other ethnic backgrounds.
The man had in the viral video narrated how they (Igbo) were asked to alight from the bus for Nigerians of other extraction to take their place.
Following the viral video, an Igbo youth-based group, the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, described the alleged abandonment of Igbo indigenes in Sudan during the evacuation as barbaric and wicked.
Reacting to the allegation, on Tuesday, NIDCOM, in a statement 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 lie didn’t bother to cross-check the claim or get the side of the NIDCOM boss, Dabiri-Erewa.
The agency noted that what happened was that during the boarding process, some persons, including non-Nigerians in order to escape the war-torn country violently jumped into the buses, some with daggers, through the windows.
It explained that the development made the officials to insist that priority should be given to women, children, and students.
It added that in order to bring sanity to the process, the officials decided to abide by the instruction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and started calling the stranded Nigerians according to their States of origin beginning with Abia State in alphabetical order.
The Commission however stressed that if some people arrived after the stipulated time or did not show up at the point of pick up, they cannot put the blame on its own officials.
The 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.”