Xenophobia: Air Peace and its uncommon feat

For over three weeks now, the story that has been trending globally is no other than the painful xenophobic attacks launched against Nigerians in particular and other citizens of African nations by South Africans over senseless excuses.

The African nation which was for decades trapped in the apartheid scourge which turned its citizens to second class in the hands of the white minority finally breathed the air of freedom though not until other African countries led by Nigeria used their unquantifiable financial, material and other resources to emancipate the country from the hands of their oppressors.

While all the efforts of the fellow African countries seemed to have been in vain in view of the attitude of the South Africans with the subtle backing of their government, one obvious thing is that with the several attacks so far carried out in the country, other African countries must be reviewing their relationships with South Africa.

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As the controversy trailing the hostile attacks on Nigerians and other nationals continue, one obvious lesson this must have taught the Federal Government and Nigerians in general is the notion which says; ‘there is nothing wrong in supporting your own’.

By now, the Federal Government and its officials would have realised why it is good to give indigenous companies priority ahead of foreign companies because when the chips are down, the indigenous entities will not let you down.

Prior to the latest attacks, many Nigerians, including key players across the country’s aviation, sector had faulted the carefree attitude of the subsequent government towards the plight of the domestic airlines.

It is on record how the Federal Government under the guise of being the ‘Big brother’ or the ‘giant of Africa’ has been pampering airlines from Africa even when its own indigenous carriers are being overwhelmed with myriad of challenges made up of both government’s hostile policies and resultant unfriendly business environment.

Without much ado, the latest decision of Air Peace airline to voluntarily evacuate the stranded Nigerians from the xenophobic country should have sent one signal to the government on the numerous benefits it stands to gain by supporting its indigenous airlines or any Nigerian private investors for that matter

The Air Peace decision to evacuate Nigerians is not only an act of selflessness but one that gives national pride to the Federal Government. It is an uncommon gesture in the history of airline business not only in Nigeria but even beyond because of the huge fortune such gesture is expected to cost the owner of the airline.

From left, Customer Relationship Manager, nahcoaviance, Prince Al Ihekwuaba; Group Business Director, nahco aviance, Prince Saheed Lasisi; Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Mrs Toyin Olajide; Chairman/CEO, Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema; Group Managing/CEO, nahco aviance, Mrs Olatokunbo Fagbemi; Head, Marketing, nahco aviance, Mrs Chioma Offor; and Chief Pilot, Air Peace, Captain Alan Bandele, during the humanitarian award presented to the Air Peace boss, in recognition of his selfless act in facilitating the relocation of distressed citizens from South Africa, in Lagos, recently.

The question is; why did the foreign airlines government have been giving preferential treatment not come to the aid of government to rescue the Nigerians from South Africa?

The evacuation of the Nigerians from South Africa, according to information gathered will cost the airline management over N300 million; how does the Federal Government intend to appreciate the Air Peace management for this?

This and several questions call for answers from the government on this unique and uncommon feat of the Air Peace airline.

At this juncture, while the Crucial Moment is joining others to say a big thank you to Air Peace management for doing every Nigerian proud, it is apposite to say that the time has come for the government to reciprocate the gesture to support Air Peace by engaging the government of the countries the airline has been designated to fly into in international aero-politics to make it easy for the Nigerian airlines to reciprocate the hitherto lopsided air service agreements Nigeria signed with them.

The airline has for many reasons proved beyond doubt that it is ready for business as witnessed in the number of new generation aircraft it has acquired which can compete favourably with the mega carriers of this world.

There is nothing wrong with Nigeria supporting its own airline. The Air Peace has paid its dues and therefore deserves all the support it requires to fly the flag of Nigeria around the world.

While other Nigerian airlines also deserve urgent rescue from the government, the government should henceforth give better priority to its indigenous carriers which will not desert it in the days of xenophobic attacks or unfriendly attitude from other countries around the world.

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