Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Friday said that there were no urgent need to evacuate Nigerians in South Sudan as there are no immediate threats to their lives and property.
Onyeama, who stated this while briefing the newsmen on the just concluded African Union (AU) meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, said that Nigerians in Juba were not under any threat, as contacts with them are made regularly and situation being assessed.
The minister said that most Nigerians doing businesses in the crisis-ridden country have returned to their location due to the cease fire agreed upon by the warring parties.
Onyeama, who said that Federal Government did not abandon Nigerians in the war-torn country as reported by some social media, said that there was no immediate threat to the lives of Nigerian citizens in the place.
“As you know, we have large numbers of Nigerians in South Sudan when the fighting broke out, they took refuge in the Nigerian embassy in South Sudan and there were calls for evacuation.
We took certain steps including putting in place some form of logistics in the ministry as one or two countries also evacuated their citizens.
‘We got in touch with National Security Adviser and the Ministry of Defence to explore the options in evacuating some of our citizens.
And of course, we are in touch with the Nigerian embassy in the country, there is a relative calm and peace in the country because the parties involved in the crisis have agreed to a ceasefire,” he said.
He also explained that Nigerians held up in the embassy have now gone back to their normal businesses and that the Ministry was advised by the embassy that the war had passed and it was no longer necessary to take such drastic steps.
Onyeama said that although the situation could degenerate again, the situation was being monitored adding that Nigerians in Juba will be protected.
“We are on top of the situation and in touch with the UN peace and Security Commission to protect Nigerians and the Nigerian embassy in South Sudan. We will do everything possible and we are ready to do more to evacuate Nigerians,” he assured.
Recall that Fighting broke out on July 7, in Juba, South Sudan, the world’s newest country few days before they celebrated their fifth independence anniversary. Hundreds of people, mostly soldiers, have been reportedly killed in the fighting between rival armed groups since then, raising fears of a slide back into all-out conflict.
Report says that uneasy calm has returned to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, last Tuesday after five days of fierce fighting between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice-President Riek Machar.
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 war.
Photo Credit: Twitter @GeoffreyOnyeama