…as Onyema vows to evacuate every stranded Nigerian
The House of Representatives has recommended that the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyeama, be conferred with national honours for the patrotic role he played in evacuating Nigerians in South Africa.
The recommendation was given yesterday when Onyema appeared before it during plenary session following an invite by the House to honour him for volunteers to airlift Nigerians cut up in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
In his address, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, hailed Onyeama for his selflessness in ensuring the safety of Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila noted that his act was a rare show of patriotism that should be commended.
“We hereby commend Mr. Allen Onyeama for his kind gesture and recommend him to the federal government for higher honours in Nigeria,”.
In his remarks, the Air Peace boss thanked the House for recognizing his gesture and deeming him fit for the honour which according to him, is the greatest in his life.
Onyema who noted that his decision was necessitated by the dangers Nigerians in South Africa faced, added that he wasn’t concerned about the financial burden the exercise will have on his business as long as Nigerians were safe and the dignity of Nigeria is restored.
“The decision to evacuate was not taking spontaneously, neither did I do it for publicity; I had to mortgage my landing right in south Africa, because I just got the landing right before the crisis.
“I have never been so honoured in my life. You have brought tears to my eyes.
Onyema also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the diplomatic manner with which he handled the crisis regardless of the provocation adding that his intervention would not have been possible without the permission of the Federal Government.
He noted that the government of South Africa did not want the evacuation of foreign nationals as it was not a good thing for any county’s image.
The airline boss however, posited that xenophobia will soon be a thing of the past as it’s impacting negativity on the economy of South Africa.
“I would like to commend President Buhari for the mature way he handled the issue even with seeming provocation. The evacuation wouldn’t have been possible if the Federal Government didn’t permit me.
“The evacuation is one of the reasons why South Africa is apologising and I can tell you that xenophobia will soon be a thing of history as people are living the country and flights are flying half-ful. As I speak, 319 Nigerians checked in this morning. And Air Peace will go into South Africa to evacuate even if it’s a single Nigerian”, Onyema said.
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