…as Reps recommend Allen Onyema for national award
The second batch of Nigerian returnees fleeing from xenophobic attacks in South Africa arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday.
The 314 returnees were evacuated by the Federal Government with the assistance of a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace.
The B777 aircraft, with registration number 5N-BWI, which departed Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, landed at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at 7.22 p.m.
The returnees were received at the airport by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO of Nigerian In Diaspora Commission.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema on Wednesday told the House of Representatives that he never expected to receive a recommendation for a national award.
Onyema was invited to the green chambers and recommended for a national award, after he used his airline to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa, following the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in the country.
In his remarks, the Air Peace boss thanked the lawmakers for the honour, adding that his actions were spontaneous and he would do anything to evacuate even a single Nigerian.
“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.
Onyema had earlier told Channels Television in an interview that he is using his airline to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa because he wants the world to see Nigeria respected as a nation
Speaking further in the interview, he noted that evacuation of foreigners from another country isn’t a good sign for the affected nation involved.
On Wednesday last week, the Air Peace 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.