“You have brought tears to my eyes again. I have never been so honoured in my life.
“That singular act (evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa) has brought so much respect for Nigeria worldwide. It wouldn’t have happened if the evacuation hadn’t take place.
“In the last one week, we have been so bonded as a country. No more Hausa, no more Yoruba, no more Igbo. Let me use this opportunity to plead with all of you here, the representatives of our people: as long as we fight against each other, sooner or later, we shall not have a nation.
“It is only when we start fighting for each other, as against what is happening now, that we can have a nation. I believe in nationalism as against sectionalism.
“We are ready to go into South Africa as long as there is one single Nigerian remaining in that country to be evacuated for free.
“The kind of support we have gotten from Nigerians through their commendations and everything gladdens our hearts. My pilot and my cabin crew stood out there for 24 hours, because there were some people (South African authorities) trying to frustrate us.
“They did not want us to evacuate Nigerians. They pleaded with the Nigerian High Commission not to allow it. But the High Commission told them that the operation cannot be stopped, because it’s being executed by private citizens.
“The cabin crew stood up for 24 hours. They delayed us for 15 hours before allowing us to do the first evacuation. The crew refused to collect their allowances, saying that’s their own contributions.”
■ Words of the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, speaking during his appearance at the House of Representatives over his humanitarian service in evacuating Nigerians from South Africa in the wake of xenophobic attacks.
The House of Representatives held a session in Onyema’s honour and passed a resolution asking President Muhammadu Buhari to give him a national award in recognition of his patriotism. The House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, immediately directed the Clerk of the House to act on this.
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