The House of Representatives on Wednesday held a session in honour of the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, for the free air services offered by his airline to the Federal Government for the evacuation of Nigerians in South Africa.
The Nigerians were evacuated from South Africa over xenophobic attacks in that country.
Also, the House passed a resolution asking President Muhammadu Buhari to give a national award to Onyema in recognition of his patriotism, which the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the Clerk to the House, Patrick Giwa, to transmit to Buhari immediately.
The lawmakers also vowed to give the first priority to Air Peace when flying to any part of the country.
The Speaker, shortly after saying the opening prayers, asked that the Order Paper for Wednesday’s plenary be temporarily suspended to allow the lawmakers to receive Onyema for recognition.
Gbajabiamila asked the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, to move that Onyema be allowed into the chamber.
As the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, ushered the Air Peace boss into the chamber, several lawmakers embraced and shook hands with him.
The Speaker hailed Onyema for his patriotism, saying the lawmakers had recommended the Air Peace boss for Federal Government’s recognition.
The lawmakers gave Onyema a standing ovation when called upon to address them.
“You have brought tears to my eyes again. I have never been so honoured in my life,” Onyema said in the opening of his speech.
The Air Peace boss told the House that the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa has brought respect to Nigeria across the world. He also stated that South Africa was suffering dearly for the attacks by its citizens on non-citizens. He said flights were now going to South Africa empty and while stocks in the country were falling.
“That singular act has brought so much respect for Nigeria worldwide,” he said.
The Air Peace boss said the pressure on South Africa forced the country to apologise to Nigeria and other African countries.
“It wouldn’t have happened if the evacuation hadn’t take place,” he said.
According to him, xenophobia will die a natural death in South Africa.
The Air Peace boss noted that he had been previously involved in national projects, urging other wealthy Nigerians to be philanthropic.
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