Nigerian evacuees who fled crisis-ridden Sudan have been airlifted from Aswan airport in Egypt.
Nigerian Air Force plane, NAF C130, and an aircraft belonging to Air Peace, with capacity of 274 passengers, were earlier scheduled to depart by 1pm Nigerian time, but did not.
The Egyptian authorities had insisted that all the evacuees must leave their soil at once.
Sources disclosed that the evacuees were allowed into the Egyptian airport between last night and early hours of Wednesday.
“About 25 extra passengers were even added to the NAF C130 against its normal capacity of 80, in order to meet the condition, but there were still others that could not get space, hence the journey was initially postponed.
“NAF’s pilot had agreed to accept them on the condition that they leave without their luggage. The Nigerian officials sought opinion of parents and family members who agreed and said seeing their children is the priority. But few others insisted that they must leave with their luggage containing credentials.”
Eventually, extra passengers were added to the NAF aircraft without their luggage.
Air Force spokesman, Ayodele Famuyiwa, later confirmed that the evacuees were home bound.
“I am pleased to inform you that the NAF C-130H aircraft that went to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Sudan has departed Aswan and is expected to touch down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja by 2340hrs (11.40 pm) tonight.
“Anyone interested may wish to be at the airport to cover the event. Grateful,” he said in a statement.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), later tweeted a video of the returnees