Libya protest: FG on alert to evacuate Nigerians from Libya
Written by Christian Okeke, Abuja Tuesday, 22 February 2011
AS protests against the 40-year rule of Moammar Gadhafi escalate, indications emerged on Monday that the Federal Government was on a red alert to evacuate Nigerian citizens out of that country.
The number of Nigerians living in Libya could not be ascertained as at the time of this report but the Nigerian Tribune’s investigations revealed that the situation in the country was giving officials, especially those at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, sleepless nights and contingency evacuation was being contemplated as soon as it became extremely imperative.
The Federal Government evacuated over 1,100 Nigerians from Egypt when similar protests rocked the country against the government of Hosni Mubarak.
Confirming the stand-by stance of the government, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Aliyu Idi Hong, told the Nigerian Tribune on telephone that the Federal Government would take up contingency evacuation of Nigerians in Libya if it became extremely imperative.
The minister disclosed that the government was preparing to move in at any moment.
He, however, described as speculative the report that Nigerians were among those killed in the ongoing protests and maintained that the ministry was yet to receive any official report from the country’s embassy in Tripoli.
Dr Hong said, “I didn’t even hear anything like that; otherwise our embassy in Tripoli should have informed us. There is no official communication yet, but we are studying the situation to see if we can get a report.
“We are preparing to move in as soon as it becomes necessary. We are keeping a very close look at the situation and will take up contingency evacuation at any moment”, he added.The minister went further to admit that, “Nigeria and Libya have diplomatic relationship.”