House of Reps honours Air Peace boss

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By Yusuf Abdullahi, Abuja

House of Representatives has recommended the chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, for national award – The speaker of House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Onyema deserved to be commended for his kind gesture to bring back Nigerians from South Africa – In reaction, Onyema said he has never been so honoured in his life.

The chief executive officer of Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyema, has been nominated for a national honour by the House of Representatives for evacuating Nigerians stranded in South Africa at no cost. The Cable reports that the recommendation was given when Onyema appeared before the House during Wednesday, September 18, plenary session. It was also gathered that the lawmakers also resolved to make Air Peace their main carrier.

The House had invited Onyema to honour him for offering to bring citizens caught up in the xenophobic attacks in South Africa back home.

The speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, while addressing the Assembly, said Onyema should be commended for the kind gesture. He said the act was a rare show of patriotism that ought to be celebrated.

“We hereby commend Mr. Allen Onyema and recommend him to the federal government for higher honours in Nigeria,” the speaker said. In his remarks, Onyema thanked the lower legislative chamber for the honour which he said is the greatest in his life. “I did not do it spontaneously, nor 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 did not give a damn; I never did, because I know that I will not go to heaven with any dime. “I have never been so honoured in my life. You have brought tears to my eyes. I would not have been able to do this if the federal government did not allow me or assemble those people for me to evacuate,” he said.

It was gathered that many Nigerians were targeted in the recent attacks which lasted for days in South Africa. But the Air Peace offered to evacuate those willing to return at no cost. At least 187 have been brought home while more are scheduled to return this week.

Onyema said he put together N280 million to bring them home. It was reported that Onyema volunteered his airline and has sent aircraft to evacuate Nigerians fleeing South Africa over the xenophobic attacks on foreigners which has claimed lives and led to the destruction of property.

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