Xenophobia: Why Air Peace is evacuating Nigerians for free – CEO

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Mr. Allen Onyema

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airline, Mr Allen Onyema, has explained why the company is offering free service in the evacuation of Nigerians in the wake of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Onyema told Channels Television in an interview on Tuesday that there was no personal motive in extending a helping hand as the gesture was only for the good of the Nigerian People.

“The motivation here is the fact that I want to see Nigeria respected as a nation,” he said while featuring as a guest on Politics Today.

The airline chief added, “It is unfortunate that a lot of people didn’t know who Allen Onyeama is; it’s not the first time I’ve been doing things like that.”

On Wednesday last week, the airline evacuated no fewer than 185 Nigerians who indicate interest to return home as a result of the xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

Another set of about 319 people are expected to return to the country today but the trip suffered a setback as a result of landing permit.

The End Of Militancy

Having resolved the issue and secured the permit for the plane to land in Johannesburg, Onyema said the South African authorities gave the airline an arrival time.

He insisted that it was not the first time he was making contribution to the nation’s development and highlighted his role in restoring peace to the Niger Delta in the heat of militancy in the region.

The Air Peace boss said, “I expended more than this pursuing the issue of the Niger Delta question when there was violent militancy in the Niger Delta. I was the one who brought non-violence education into this country for the first time in order to address the issue of violent militancy.

“Everybody says that I was the one who was instrumental in bringing the violent militancy down; it was because of my programme that made it possible for them (the militants) to agree to accept the amnesty in the first place and I was the one who trained over 30,000 of them who were registered.”

Onyema stated that he started the transformation in the region and sponsored repentant militants to South Africa before getting support from the oil companies in the region.

He noted that he spent “several millions of my money” going into the creeks to empower repentant militants in 2014.

On his recommendation by the House of Representatives for a national award, Onyema noted that he was not aware of the development before the interview.

He said, “I’m hearing the national honour from you, I’ve not heard it before. This is the first time I’m hearing something like that.”

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