• en

Onyema: Insensitive for Trade Unions to Disrupt Air Peace Operations While It Airlifts Nigerians Evacuated from Sudan 

“If something is not done about it, this country is a joke,” he said.

YouTube player

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has condemned as insensitive, the actions of the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, after they disrupted the airline’s operations on Wednesday, the same day it was in the thick of airlifting Nigerians evacuated from Sudan. 

Expressing his dissatisfaction during an ARISE News interview on Wednesday, Onyema said, “You can imagine how I felt this afternoon while I was out there trying to rescue Nigerians, the Nigerian Labour Congress and TUC went disrupting every Air Peace flight across the country today. 

“We are losing over N700 million as a result of that. For somebody who has contributed so much to the nation, on a day like this.

“This is so insensitive of the NLC and TUC. They chose today to disrupt our operations for something that does not even concern Air Peace.

“Something should happen because we are not going to let this go, we must recover all we have lost today, we must recover it. If something is not done, this country is a joke ”

Onyema had earlier during the interview, revealed the “confusion” experienced in the process of evacuating Nigerians stranded on Sudanes-Egyptian border, due to the fighting in Sudan.

“We discovered that there were more people than the two aircraft could carry. 

“We (had) supplied the sitting capacity of the triple seven and I’m sure the air force people also supplied the sitting capacity of their own aircraft.

“We had about three hundred and seventy-one people on ground and Air Peace was to take two hundred and eighty-one, the air force people were to take a little above eighty or about ninety.” he said.

But with a few people still to be accommodated in the evacuation plan, he suggested that all luggage be transferred to the cargo compartment of 777, to free up space and airlift all earmarked citizens. 

Onyema also commended the Nigerian ambassador to Egypt, Nura Abba Rimi, for working tirelessly in the whole evacuation process.

“I also commend the ambassador out there, Ambassador Abba Rimi. The man has really worked tirelessly for this country. We were out there and we were not sleeping because we never knew what will happen the next moment. 

The Air Peace boss however stated that the chaos that was experienced in the evacuation process is a sad reality of the stigmatization that Nigerians face in other parts of the world.

“We as Nigerians are overly stigmatized. You don’t want to know the number of Nigerans in foreign jails for something they know nothing about. All you need to be condemned is to carry the green passport, all you need is to identify as a Nigerian, you are a suspect even before you are judged.

“This is the problem we are having. Imagine Ethiopia, they (evacuees) were to go through Ethiopia and Ethiopia blocked them and Ethiopia is making a lot of money out of Nigeria. It Is the stereotype and unfortunately, we in Nigeria stigmatize also ourselves,” he lamented.

Chioma Kalu