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The True Story Of ‘Z’

The deeper tale of the mysterious emblem — a signal of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine — illuminates how the aging leaders in the Kremlin attempt to explain their fetishistic genocide to their own people.


When Russian tanks and trucks invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the letter Z was painted on their sides. There were other icons, letters and tattoos on show, but the Z won the race of symbols. As a feature of war and a sign of support, the Z soon spread all over Russia. Within the country, patriots painted it on police cars, on the sides of buildings and on their clothing. In Kazan, children who were dying in a hospice were lined up in a Z formation for a macabre photo that was widely disseminated by state media.

The war being fought was against the West, so why was a Latin letter — foreign to the Cyrillic alphabet — chosen as its symbol? There was no official explanation, so theories multiplied. Some said that the Z came from the Russian word zapad, which means “the West”; others argued it stood for Zelensky and that Russian troops had been ordered to kill him.

True believers saw in the Z one-half of the swastika, which they claimed was an ancient symbol of the Slavs. Critics thought it was taken from zombie films. Whatever the truth, it has proliferated in Russian life and media. But the deeper story of why it became so popular and what that means is a fascinating one.

 Generations And Ethnicities

Preparing his assault on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the Russians and Ukrainians were one and the same people. Failing to explain any legitimate reasons for the attack, Putin’s pre-war speeches and articles foreshadowed the weird character of the events that followed.

Many millions of Russian speakers lived in Ukraine, a few million Ukrainians in Russia, and many other millions of both ethnicities were connected by blood, marriage or friendship. Judging by most demographic and social indicators, the neighboring countries were pretty similar. In global rankings, fertility and life expectancy were comparably low, and divorce rates were equally high. Due to oil and gas exports, Russians were technically wealthier per capita than Ukrainians, though this wealth rarely reached them. Judging by the inequality of incomes, Ukraine looked like a fairer, more balanced society. Despite the indicators of wealth, there was more poverty in Russia. And while the statistics of education were also similar, quality was questionable in both countries. Before Moscow started hostilities back in 2014, Ukraine was almost as corrupted as Russia. And though Russia was ethnically more heterogenous, both countries were mostly urban, educated and secular.

During the war, however, we have seen vast and growing differences between the two fighting peoples, with the hapless Russian troops and their corrupted commanders starkly contrasted by the ingenuity and rationality of the Ukrainians. In the diplomatic arena, senile, mumbling Russian leaders lose every argument against their brilliant colleagues from Ukraine.

The Russian regime that launched this war is as gerontocratic as the one during the twilight of the Soviet Union. In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the future Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, was 41 — exactly the same age as his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, is now. Putin has been in power (22 years) for quite a lot longer than any of the Soviet leaders, except only Stalin (29 years). In general, there was a huge difference in age between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders at the outset of the war. Putin (70) could easily be the 44-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky’s father, and the same is true of almost every Russian cabinet member in comparison to their Ukrainian counterparts.

Nothing cleanses the palate better than war. It changes everything — first the present, then the future and, finally, the past. It reverses the natural order of things. Sons die and fathers mourn, not the other way around. Every war brings the problem of generations to the fore. Ivan Turgenev wrote “Fathers and Sons,” the paradigmatic literary analysis of the problem of generational differences, in the aftermath of the Crimean War (1853-1856); Karl Mannheim wrote “The Problem of Generations,” the paradigmatic scholarly analysis, in the aftermath of World War I. A major divide in any country, generations are shaped by their experiences more than by their dates of birth.

“For military and political purposes, markers of difference between two similar peoples had to be created and emphasized.”

In all parts of the former U.S.S.R., the rupture of 1991 established a huge difference between the last Soviet and the first post-Soviet generations. In both Ukraine and Russia, generational differences were larger than ethnic ones. Born in the wake of World War II, many of Russia’s current rulers are deeply rooted in the Soviet period. These boomers went to Soviet schools and started their careers in Soviet collectives. Of the 83 Russian billionaires listed by Forbes in 2022, almost all of them are Soviet boomers. Peers of Putin and his regime, this tiny elite of oligarchs and officials amassed enormous wealth during the so-called “fat years,” the decade after 2000 of fossil fuel-based prosperity.

Ukraine’s leaders, on the other hand, know about the Soviet era mostly from history books. Among the 23 current members of the cabinet, none are boomers. Among the 31 members of the Russian cabinet, by contrast, 11 are.

This war is being fought between two neighboring peoples of similar languages and diverging cultures. It is a war of aging boomers against Generation X and millennials. That’s a craterous divide in any country, but the rupture of 1991 made it even wider.

In Russia, Zelensky and his peers would have been a lost generation. Born too late to profit from the massive redistribution of the 1990s, Russia’s Gen X felt resentment toward more successful predecessors from Putin’s generation. Mikhail Anipkin, a Russian-British sociologist, compares the Russian political life of the pre-war period to a theater: The boomers are on stage, performing an endless play, while millennials helplessly wait in the wings for their turn, and Gen X, uninterested, drinks at the bar. Youngsters in the audience whistle in protest, but the ushers kick them out.

Russian sons and daughters tried to rebel against their fathers in the mass protests of 2012, but they failed. In a huge contrast, Ukraine’s young people succeeded in Kyiv two years later, overthrowing an aging Moscow-allied regime and taking power to lead the nation. Feeling the heat, Kremlin septuagenarians launched a counterattack.

This is not a war between ethnicities — it is a war between generations. A gigantic Oedipal conflict.

 Genocide Of Small Differences

In his 1944 definition of genocide, the Polish-Jewish scholar Raphael Lemkin wrote that “genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.” But at the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, these “national patterns” were not much different. This may sound unusual, but in most known cases of genocide, such a situation is a rule rather than an exception.

Sigmund Freud wrote about the “narcissism of minor differences”; studying the Balkan genocides, the philosopher Michael Ignatieff demonstrated how small differences turned into grand narratives and mass murders. In the Bible, there is a story about how the Gileadites fought against a neighboring people, the Ephraimites. Those Ephraimites who fled and were captured had to pass a phonetic test — pronouncing the Hebrew word “Shibboleth.” For saying “Sibboleth” instead, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed (Judges 12:5-6).

Citing this story, Viktor Shklovsky, the Russian-Jewish scholar who took part in World War I and saw its aftermath in Ukraine, commented: “The Bible repeats itself in a curious way. … In the Ukraine [sic!] I saw a Jewish boy. He could not look at the corn without trembling. He told me: When they were killing us in the Ukraine, they needed to check whether the person they were about to kill was Jewish. They asked him: ‘Say kukuruza (corn).’ Sometimes, he said: ‘kukuruzha.’ They killed him.” There is not much difference between this use of phonetics and the Nazi method of identifying Jews by circumcision; obviously, neither of these markers warrants murder.

Other genocides followed the same logic of magnifying minor differences. Historians know that the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 and the Bosnian genocide of 1995 cannot be explained by religious hostilities between Muslims and Christians. The Young Turks — mostly intellectuals and military officers — who came to power in the Ottoman Empire, in 1908, aimed to secularize their country. At the outset of their campaign, the Armenian radicals — also secular intellectuals and military officers — supported the Young Turks and took part in their movement. There had been no genocide throughout the long centuries during which Turks and Armenians lived side by side in separate religious communities; the genocide only occurred after their religious differences had been mostly eliminated.

The internal terror in the Soviet Union, which spanned three decades and only ended with Stalin’s death in 1953, was equivalent to genocide. However, the perpetrators and the victims often belonged to the same ethnicity and shared the same ideology. Former interrogators would sometimes be arrested and then meet their victims in the same camp.

“Mass murders happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ethnic differences, big or small.”

For Bosnians and Serbs in the late 20th century, their religious and cultural differences did not play the role they did in the past. The same could safely be said about the Russians and Ukrainians when they lived side by side, in both Russia and Ukraine, before the disastrous war of 2022.

The absence of meaningful differences does not decrease the scale or the cruelty of mass murder. On the contrary, the lesser the differences, the greater the genocide. The smaller the chosen differences are, the more the genocide approaches a collective suicide — an analogy that has been noted in many historiographies of genocide, from Somalia and Cambodia to the Soviet Union and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In “Civilization and its Discontents,” Freud wrote: “It is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other. … I gave this phenomenon the name of the ‘narcissism of minor differences,’ a name that does not do much to explain it.”

Despite Freud’s uncharacteristic modesty, I see something valuable in his idea. If people are perceived as different, they can be used and abused, and the abuse would be seen in terms of economics rather than politics. But if you see another person or people as similar to you, they evoke either love or hatred. Political relations emerge among those who are similar.

Narcissism turned negligible differences into meaningful narratives, which then led to mass murder. This does not, however, explain why and how two neighboring and similar peoples become a genocidal couple. Many human groups are similar, but this does not lead them to kill one another. Genocide does not function as a causal chain of events that starts with a small difference and ends with a mass grave.

“The lesser the differences, the greater the genocide.”

The opposite is true. Mass murders happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ethnic differences, big or small. But after they have taken place, the survivors on both sides explain the slaughter by converting their small, negligible differences into grand, overwhelming narratives.

The number of small differences between human groups is infinite. Critical race theory deconstructs racial differences by arguing that they have no objective referents — they are all created by cultural perceptions. One could say that critical race theory works as an exact antidote to the “narcissism of small differences”: The former turns big differences, as they are perceived in a racist society, into collateral effects of cultural interactions, while the latter turns small differences into decisive factors that, for a murderous group, determine the difference between life and death.

There is no “objective” metric that could define which differences are small (like accents, for example) and which differences are big (races or generations). They are all constructed, contingent and fluid. A whim of history can turn any set of human differences into a genocidal matter.

According to Lemkin, the reason for genocide is the oppressors striving to establish their own order in occupied lands. The murderers want to get power, property and recognition from their own kind and from neighboring peoples. Differences are in the eyes of the beholder, but if one person has power, he can impose his perception on others.

Putin, his state and his army were determined to destroy the “national pattern” of the Ukrainians and replace it with the “national pattern” of the Russians. The perceived differences were small, but the political results were enormous. In some ways, the Russians and the Ukrainians were so similar that no Shibboleth test would have differentiated them. To identify the enemy among a people who looked and sounded like themselves, the Russian soldiers couldn’t rely even on accents — many of them had similar ways of pronouncing Russian words.

Having no other option, Russian soldiers at checkpoints searched people for “Nazi tattoos,” and anyone who had anything interpretable as such on their skin was beaten or killed. And those who sent these soldiers to Ukraine in the first place developed their own marks of difference.


Russia’s war against Ukraine is as senseless as any other genocide: There was no way it could bring Russia any political or economic gain, and it did not. The only comprehensible framework for it is a classic Russian imperialism mixed with a specifically post-Soviet revanchism. But there was also a third part to the mix: fetishism.

Russian losses have been huge and predictable — but that hardly matters. What mattered was the fetish: a Ukrainian territory whose only value came from the idea that it used to be “ours” and should be regained. Supposedly, this would have brought glory, ecstasy or some other form of satisfaction to the Russian president, his elites and their people.

For military and political purposes, markers of difference between two similar peoples had to be created and emphasized. If not the color of the skin, then the ways of shaving beards or making tattoos; if not languages, then dialects and accents; if not different religions, then different uniforms or fashions. These minor differences grow into fetishes. They are more important than the biggest and the most profound similarities, and they define life or death. There is no genocide without distinct “national patterns,” but the fetishized differences between these patterns could be negligible for any other purpose but genocide.

Nobody understands a fetishistic desire but the fetishist. Moreover, even different fetishists do not understand each other. One worships a high heel, another a colorful bow. However, fetishism is a venerable concept — both Marx and Freud loved it. Why does anyone take pleasure from the proverbial heel? It’s incomprehensible. And the victim, the owner of the heel, is as dumbfounded as anyone else.

None of this matters to the fetishist; he seeks pleasure above all else. It is exactly this disproportion between a part and a whole that constitutes fetishism. Crimea was a heel, and so was Donbas.

“Minor differences grow into fetishes.”

In national catastrophes of this scale, there is always an irrational, incomprehensible core. German historians of the Holocaust call it a “civilizational rupture.” It is important to analyze imperialism and revanchism, two comprehensible sources of these catastrophes — but it is wrong to take them for the whole picture. Your foe, a fetishist, would be happy to deceive you in this way.

Militant and potentially genocidal, fetishist culture is full of contradictions. When the emperor is a fetishist, his poets write odes and his sculptors erect monuments to him. This is hardly surprising given that the fetishist pays them handsomely.

Being a scholar under fetishistic rule is more difficult. Precisely because the fetishistic aspect of events is incomprehensible, the scholar mostly writes about the imperialistic and revanchist aspects. Historically speaking, many scholars who lived under fetishistic regimes were imperialists, but very few were fetishists. For various reasons, they did not approve of worshipping the heel, and they wrote critically about it. Most of these writings intended to explain events as the product of comprehensible factors, either political or military; fetishism was subsumed within imperialism. It took courage to see brutal acts of genocide for what they were: senseless.

There is a fetish beneath every genocide: circumcised flesh, the manner of pronunciation of certain words, a tattoo. None of them justify murder, and only a fetishist would disagree with this. But we know from history that fetishization of these minor differences does take place, and it costs millions of lives.

With the Z, a new step was taken in this amazing spectacle of history. Since there were no real words that could serve to differentiate friends from foes, a symbol had to be invented from scratch. Entirely senseless, it is the belief in the Z, the love for the Z, the identification with the Z, that identifies a true patriot.


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People fleeing violence wait for their buses before departure from al-Sittin (sixty) road in the south of Khartoum on May 30, 2023. – Fighting flared in Sudan on May 30, where warring generals agreed to extend a frequently breached ceasefire to try and deliver urgent humanitarian aid to desperate civilians. The army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces agreed late the previous day on a five-day extension of a US and Saudi-brokered humanitarian ceasefire they had repeatedly violated and which failed to deliver promised aid corridors (Photo by – / AFP)

In a Sudanese school turned makeshift hospital, a volunteer doctor hooks up a patient lying on a desk to an intravenous drip while nurses hand out medicines donated by neighbours.

As war has raged for six weeks and shuttered or destroyed many clinics, this school building in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city across the Nile, has become an emergency healthcare centre.

A chalk message written on a blackboard outside says the volunteer-run field hospital provides free general medical care, minor operations and other services.

The volunteer medics treat children and people with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses, which are “now 10 times deadlier than bullets,” said the doctor, Mohammed al-Taher.

Young activists have taken matters into their own hands since fighting erupted on April 15 between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

In times of relative peace, the activists, known as local “resistance committees”, used to organise pro-democracy protests. Now they collect water and food and run makeshift clinics for patients with nowhere else to go.

The public health sector has long been fragile in Sudan, where 65 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Now it faces compounded challenges, with three quarters of hospitals in combat zones out of service, according to the country’s doctors’ union.

– ‘Bring medicine’ –

The fighting has left 12,000 dialysis patients at risk of dying as hospitals have run out of medication and fuel to power generators, the union said.

Since the war erupted, at least 1,800 people have been killed. More than a million have been displaced within Sudan and nearly 350,000 have fled to other countries.

The fighting has also led many health professionals to flee and driven a “real brain drain”, says the UN World Health Organization.

Remaining medical staff are now teaching volunteers to tend to the wounded.

“We train young people in first aid in case they are faced with wounded people in the midst of combat,” Taher said.

Maha Mohammed is one of many volunteers looking after fellow Sudanese citizens in need.

She runs the small field hospital’s pharmacy, its shelves sparsely stocked with medicine and serum bags.

The young woman in a black abaya pleaded for “more donations” as the bulk of food and medical aid have either been looted or remain stuck at the sites of violent battles.

– ‘This war will pass’ –

The fighting has impeded the delivery of the humanitarian aid that 25 million people — over half the population — now desperately need, according to the UN.

Aid workers, who count 18 deaths among their ranks, say it is difficult for aid to flow despite the multiple ceasefires that have been agreed and quickly violated.

In a “major breakthrough”, the World Food Programme said Monday that it had begun reaching thousands of Khartoum’s trapped residents.

Mohammed said that “we must help each other before expecting foreign help. I urge people who have medicine at home to bring it here.”

At the hospital, two women stood behind a window, registering new patients lined up in the courtyard.

“Our neighbourhood is under fire, many hospitals had to close,” volunteer Ashraf told AFP. “So people come here to get free treatment from doctors in the neighbourhood.”

There are fears that the summer rainy season will soon bring seasonal epidemics like malaria, which wreaks havoc in Sudan every year, while a shortage of drinking water could drive a cholera outbreak.

The rains will also make parts of Sudan hard to reach, according to aid agencies.

But Ashraf remained optimistic that his home country, which has been ravaged by multiple civil wars and military coups since gaining independence in 1956, will also overcome the current turmoil.

“This war will pass,” he said. “We have seen many crises in Sudan, and each time we think: this will be the last. But this one will end too.”


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Happy people don’t spy; angry people do. Last week, the CIA launched an initiative to find them. Specifically, the United States spy agency set out to find disgruntled citizens of Russia with access to sensitive information they could share with the US.

By Douglas London

The CIA has created a new channel on the Telegram social media app, popular with Russians, on which it posted a video appealing to Russians with access to sensitive information to contact the agency, and provided instructions on how to do so securely. The two-minute, Russian-language production has also appeared on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The outreach aims to appeal to Russian sentiments and culture and takes advantage of the current dire internal political and economic challenges in the country. The narrator tells viewers that, “People around you may not want to hear the truth, but we do. You are not powerless,” the narrator says. “Connect with us in a safe way.”

This direct appeal is an unusual approach, but one which could prove effective in reaching a Russian populace with few options to express their discontent. Russians angry with the Kremlin’s state-sanctioned corruption and abuse, with no way to act openly, are left with few alternatives other than finding external support.

In the past, Russians who have spied for the CIA have largely done so over ideological differences with the government and out of patriotic devotion to a Russian or Soviet state they feared was being badly mismanaged – not, for the most part, for mercenary reasons. These “agents,” as they are known in the CIA, often have greater loyalty to Russia than to what they viewed as the illegitimate governments they were ruled by.

Some needed to channel their disillusionment or guilt at being part of the corrupt system. But many more were pushed to spy against their government – despite the risks – for more personal reasons, acting out of anger against the Kremlin for failings or actions that impacted them or their families.

There are any number of Russians with access to sensitive intelligence who are angry at the repression and kleptocracy that has flourished under President Vladimir Putin, and who are concerned about the future. But the decision to spy requires a trigger, or “precipitating crisis,” as veteran CIA psychologist Ursula Wilder writes. Potential spies also need the opportunity. Putin provided the crisis, the CIA is offering the opportunity, and today’s technology is providing the means.

The CIA video avoids criticizing Russia or Putin and makes no mention of Ukraine –- at least, not directly. It provides potential Russian agents affirmation, empowerment and hope. Rather than idly standing by while their country falls to ruin, the CIA tries to convince these Russians that partnering with the agency provides a way that they take back some degree of control.

I’m quite deliberate about the word “partnering,” since espionage is truly a joint effort rather than an employee relationship or one of indentured servitude. Affirmation, empowerment and hope are powerful motivators for many who come into the agency’s service. Money is rarely the key factor for Russian agents, with notable exceptions. Financial compensation is often a tool to achieve a goal rather than an end – a way to pay medical bills, the kids’ tuition, or purchase necessities for one’s family.

Russian agents have historically required relatively little cultivation or manipulation beyond assurances that they would be handled securely, and their secrets used appropriately. Some had long considered the prospect, their inclination ultimately awakened by circumstances and opportunity.

Once moved by whatever crisis that compelled them to act, Russian spies often seek to validate their handlers’ discretion and professionalism before pulling the trigger. The CIA video seeks to bridge that final obstacle, appealing to prospective agents much as an empathetic and non-judgmental friend might. (Incidentally, the FBI posted its own video appeal to Russians on Twitter in April, aimed more narrowly at diplomats and Russian personnel based in Washington, DC.)

Moscow has made it clear that it is aware of US efforts to recruit its nationals for espionage – and is determined to thwart them. “I am convinced that our special services are properly monitoring this space,” said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Putin. The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry called it “a very convenient resource for tracking applicants.”

Perhaps, but the CIA has taken precautions against its recruits being detected. The agency’s video showed images of individuals using their own mobile phones, but also tutored viewers in the mechanics of using the TOR app, otherwise known as “the onion browser.” TOR, which can be configured for use even in countries that seek to block it, allows a user to surf the dark web in a way that cannot be traced back to them. Once contact is made, the CIA provides additional secure means of communications.

In November 2022, CIA Deputy Director of Operations David Marlowe said that the agency is “open for business” for Russians who are “disgusted” by the war in Ukraine. I expected that would be the case, as I wrote in a March 2022 opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, but less because of broad Russian sympathy for Ukraine as much as the war’s economic and political consequences at home. Meanwhile, CNN reported that since the start of the Ukraine invasion, CIA contact with Russian officials offering to cooperate “was encouraging enough to launch this latest effort.”

The CIA’s messaging and instructions suggests its goal is likely intended to expand the potential agent pool beyond Russian intelligence officers, probably aiming to Russians in the military, scientific, economic, policy and technical fields, among others. Russian intelligence officers have the savvy and training to make clandestine approaches to the CIA that prospective agents from other parts of society lack.

What does all this do for the US, besides possibly embarrassing Putin, who is immune to shame and already perpetually angry with the West? It could yield important new troves of information and the intelligence gleaned might not just inform Washington’s decision-making, it could help expose Russian lies, illuminate truth and remind Putin of the fragility of his grip.

To fight Russian disinformation and inhibit Moscow’s would-be allies, the Biden administration weaponized intelligence. This was reflected by its unprecedented declassification of highly sensitive information which arguably was effective in galvanizing international support for Ukraine at the outset of the war, undermining Russian false flagscenarios, exposing Iran’s lethal support to Moscow and discouraging China from providing Putin with weapons.

In the shadowy world of espionage, the CIA’s open advertising might seem counterintuitive. But the intelligence business relies on a steady stream of new sources. Human Intelligence is about people and relationships. The CIA can only thrive by adapting to the times and the people it seeks to engage. History shows that one well-placed spy can very well lead to outcomes that change the world.

Editor’s note: Douglas London is the author of “The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence.” He teaches at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and is a nonresident scholar at the Middle East Institute. London served in the CIA’s clandestine service as a Russian-speaking senior operations officer for more than 30 years, mostly in the Middle East, South and Central Asia and Africa, including three assignments as a chief of station and as the CIA’s counterterrorism chief for South and Southwest Asia. The views expressed here are his own. He tweets @douglaslondon5. Read more opinion at CNN.

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$30,000 (N13.8 million at the official exchange rate of N46 per dollar) was paid per bus and that 40 buses were hired for the trip from Sudan to Egypt

The Nigerian Government on Sunday insisted that it earlier said it would cost to transport stranded citizens from warring Sudan to neighbouring is only for hiring buses.

Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary of the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry and Chair of the Situation Room on the evacuation of Nigerians from Sudan explained this after a closed-door meeting of the ministry in Abuja, as seen in a video posted online by Channels TV.

Sani-Gwarzo said $30,000 (N13.8 million at the official exchange rate of N46 per dollar) was paid per bus and that 40 buses were hired for the trip from Sudan to Egypt, where the stranded Nigerians will be airlifted to their home country.

He said, “It’s ($1.2 million) only for one item, for the buses. Do you know how much it takes to hire a bus from Khartoum to the border? $30,000 per bus. $30,000 per bus times 40 uses.

“That is where $1.2 million comes into. We now sent first tranche approved by the Federal government out of this, which is $400,000 and transferred it. If you take out $400,00, what does it come to?

“Once they give you 13 buses. 13 buses times $30,000 is how much- $390,000. They stopped giving us. You remember I told you they gave us 13 buses. They kept the $10,000. When you are travelling in Sudan, you don’t just enter bus and start going, you must load it with water and biscuits.

“Believe me, I just became an expert on Sudan overnight because every day we discuss with them. And they told us our money is finished, being another money. We now transferred the balance in tranches. Believe me, you don’t transfer money to Sudan directly.

“You have to get somebody who knows the country, who will transfer and give cash. Then you go into an agreement. You sign an MOU. And at every stage, I report to the DSS (Department of State Services) and NFIU (Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit) so that they can monitor the movement of the money.”

Explaining the delays experienced by Nigerians in the evacuation process, he explained that the bus owners demanded complete payment and that any money being sent out from a government account would first be flagged.

“Do you that in Nigeria if you transfer money from government account, it does not click because it has a dashboard that can be seen? They will stop it so we had to alert them and we sent this money and it got delayed,” he added.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama said the Nigerian government would be spending $1.2 million to hire 40 buses to be used to evacuate Nigerians trapped in Sudan.

Onyeama disclosed this while speaking to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday. Onyeama said the Nigerian government would evacuate citizens within days amid the 72-hour ceasefire agreement between the warring factions in Sudan.

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