The Nigerian Government on Saturday January 5th 2014 began evacuating its citizens from crisis-ridden Central African Republic.
Over 360 returnees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja yesterday.
Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Nigerian Army and the Foreign Affairs Ministry are handling the evacuation process which will continue for the next five days.
Read a statement released this evening, signed by Major General Chris Olukolade, Director Defence Information and photos after:
DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS EVACUATES NIGERIANS FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Following President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive for immediate evacuation of Nigerians trapped in the crisis-ridden Central African Republic (CAR), the Defence Headquarters has commenced a rapid repatriation of Nigerians from the country. Accordingly, it has deployed a Nigerian Air Force Charlie 130 aircraft with full complements of medical and welfare personnel to ensure effective evacuation of distressed Nigerian citizens who were been thrown into refugee situation in the beleaguered country.
The Defence Headquarters’ intervention is aimed at complementing the efforts of other Federal Government agencies that are already on ground to facilitate the evacuation exercise. Apart from the C130 aircraft provided by the DHQ, the Federal Government has also arranged several chattered flights to bring home over 1,620 Nigerians who took refuge at the Nigerian Embassy in Bangui.
About 831 Nigerians comprising men, women and children have already been airlifted home safely since the commencement of the exercise on Friday, 3rd January while the medical team from the DHQ is on ground to offer medical assistance to the sick and the injured.
Nigerian Embassy officials are optimistic that with the DHQ intervention and the two other planes chartered by the Federal Government, the evacuation exercise will soon be completed. Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, has assured that the NAF C130 aircraft will continue the evacuation exercise until the last displaced Nigerian citizen in Central African Republic is brought home safely. He also commended the French Forces who are securing the Bangui International Airport for cooperating with the DHQ team and facilitating their successful evacuation of Nigerians.
The evacuees who are presently being profiled by officials of NEMA at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for onward transportation to their various home states have expressed their relief and appreciation to the Federal Government for coming to their aid when they needed it most.
Central African Republic is currently engulfed in a debilitating internal crisis which resulted in total breakdown of all institutions of government culminating into lawlessness, wanton killings and humanitarian disaster of monumental proportions.