Ugonma Cokey, Lagos
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema says the airline is set to rescue every Nigerian from South African in the wake of xenophobic attacks in the southern African nation.
Barrister Onyema, while speaking on Arise Africa TV programme, described the intervention of Air Peace Airline in the immediate evacuation of Nigerians from SA as a rescue mission against the backdrop of reports of killings, kidnappings and maiming being perpetrated by some South African nationals against foreigners especially Nigerians.
According to him, although the gesture has cost him over N280 million, he affirmed that the airline was ready to fly as many Nigerians willing to return home at no cost to them or the government.
He noted that he or his company had no financial expectation from the Nigerian government other than for the Nigerian High Commission in SA to ensure seamless processing of travel documents of Nigerian citizens ready to return home.
”I was not forced into doing this, it was my own spontaneous decision, this is not the first time I am doing something like this, I was actively involved in the days of amnesty programme for the then Niger-Delta militants, so, Air Peace is just a small part of me.”
“I am not expecting anything from anybody, if I am, our people will still be in South Africa; I have always been motivated by seeking God’s face, the only thing I will expect the government to do is to ensure that the High Commission in South Africa gets the processes smoothened,” the Air Peace CEO stressed.
We shocked SA
The Air Peace boss also hinted that with the order given by President Muhammadu Buhari to evacuate Nigerians, South African authorities were ‘hit below the belt’ because the implications of the evacuation would be far reaching for the rainbow nation.
“We heard of reports of people being kidnapped, they didn’t want them to leave, they checked 20 passengers-in and stopped claiming that their systems were down, then we asked them what happened to manual checking.”
“The truth is that we hit them below the belt, this sent out a signal out there that you don’t toy with Nigerians, we may have our differences in this country, but nobody can break our resolve when we want to do something as Nigerians,” he added.
I can’t go to my grave with my wallet
The Anambra State-born CEO then called on other people of means in Nigeria to invest at home, saying that he also did some of the things he did to motivate others like him.
In his words, “I can’t go to my grave with my wallet, neither will I be buried with the number of houses I have; I can’t go to my grave with my bank account, but I can go to my grave peacefully and happily with the kind of legacies I leave behind, that is why I want other Nigerians of means to invest at home so as to prevent most of our people leaving the country for greener pastures.”
Air Peace Airline
With 23 aircrafts in its fleet, Air Peace has warmed itself into the hearts of most Nigerians and is gradually positioning itself as a national carrier since it began operations in 2013.
However, while the airline has become a household name and a national brand in modern Nigerian aviation industry, most successful Nigerians, including businessmen, politicians, professionals and the academics are at one time or the other caught-up in the controversial web of the ownership of Air Peace Airline.
But setting the records straight, Air Peace Airline Limited, is solely owned by Barrister Allen Ifechukwu Onyema, Chairman/CEO of Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN) which single handedly convinced the Federal Government under the late President Yar’ Adua’s administration on the possibility of the amnesty program which is widely enjoyed today in Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.
Interestingly, this illustrious Nigerian, is an amiable native of (Mbosi) one of the communities in (Ebonesie zone in Ihiala LGA) Anambra State.
The Airline company has only the Onyemas as members of the Board of trustees and directors ranging from:
Chief, Barr. Allen Onyema Chairman /CEO Air Peace AirLine Ltd.
Mrs Alice Ojochida Onyema, (Wife)
Mr Michael Onyema (Father)
Mrs Helen Onyema (Mother)
Mr Nonso Onyema (Son)
Miss Nnenna (Daughter)
The names of each member of the family visibly crested on each of the Airline to prove that the company does not have joint ownership with external name, persons nor firm, but solely owned by the Onyemas.
Air Peace Airline has also been given clearance to ply international routes such as; Gwanzu-China, Dubai, Accra Ghana, South Africa, India, USA and the UK.
Interestingly, the Airplane will be taking off from (Enugu International Airport) to its destinations, this arrangement will undoubtedly open up more commercial activities in the Eastern Region of the country by bringing local and international trips to the doorsteps of businessmen and women with at least 3 Boeing 777 planes ( one of largest planes for international routes) currently ready for operations.
Edited by Eniola Ajayi