The House Committee Chairman on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, has lauded the offer of free airlift of the Nigerian victims of xenophobia attacks in South Africa back home by the Chairman of the Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyema.
Nnaji, described the gesture as patriotic and also noted that with that singular act, Onyema has demonstrated, “a true spirit of Africanism which compels us to be our brothers’ keeper.”
He urged other corporate citizens in the country to emulate the gesture of the Air Peace chief in assisting the returnees to settle down since several of them have lost their means of livelihood to the senseless attacks inflicted on them by the South Africans. Nnaji, who is representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives however stressed the need for the federal government through the Foreign Affairs Ministry to immediately get in touch with the South African authorities to address the hiccups being experienced by the airline in the airlift operations.
“l understand that the first flight yesterday brought barely half the expected number of people it would have brought due to the demands from the South African Immigration officials. They want our people to leave their country, why making it difficult for them to go.”
He regretted that development led to several delays before the flight eventually took off with about 187 passengers as against 320 it would have brought adding that such delays were an added cost to the airline. He also urged the federal government to assist the management of Air peace in defraying the huge operational cost of airlifting the over 700 Nigerians who have reportedly registered with the Nigerian High Commission to leave South Africa.