10 things you need to know about Onyema Allen the generous man behind Air Peace Evacuation Of Nigerians From SA
Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Allen Ifechukwu Onyema has turned the man everyone keeps talking about.
On the heels of the xenophobic attack on foreigners in South Africa, Onyema on 11 September, 2019 volunteered his Air Peace Boeing 777 aircraft for the evacuation of about 187 Nigerians.
10 things you need to know about the generous man behind Air Peace.
1 He came to Lagos in 1990 in search of jobs with no money on him.
2 He squatted in Oshodi and couldn’t afford taxis or buses; he would go to Lagos Island by rail. Going back to Oshodi, he would trek from Marina to Iddo to join the overcrowded trains. He wanted to practice his profession as a lawyer.
3 Seven of his aircrafts are also named after his family. The executive jet has Michael on it, his father’s name. One Domier 328 jet has Helen on it- that is his late mother’s name. The other Domier 328 has Ojochide, his wife’s name. The first four B737 have on them names of his four children namely; Nnenna– after his first child and daughter, Chinonso– after his first son, Obinna – after his second son and Ugochukwu – after his last son.
4 Onyema was born in Benin City, Edo state in 1964 to parents of Anambra State Origin. He had his early education in Benin.
5 He attended several Schools including the prestigious Government College, Ughelli, Delta state.
6 He left Government College in 1984 having obtained his Higher School Certificate and was directly offered admission to read law at the Nigeria’s Premier University, The University of Ibadan in the same year.
7 It was in the University of Ibadan that his appetite for peace made him to lead a group of nine other students to travel to the ancient city of Zaria to quell a raging religious and ethnic riot that claimed lives. As a result of the publicity he and his colleagues received on return to their campus, their enthusiasm grew and this led to the formation of a group known then as Eminent Friends’ Group – a group formed with the objectives of promoting ethnic harmony amongst Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities and fighting the incidence of violence of all forms in our nation.
8 On graduation from the University in 1987, he established branches of the Organization in all the States of the Federation. While in the Nigerian Law School in 1987, he combined his studies with social activism bothering on engendering peace in Nigeria.
9 He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1989 and started his legal practice in 1990. In the Law Firm of Nwizugbo & Company and rose to become the Head of Chambers by 1992.
10 He resigned from this law firm to establish his own outfit ONYEMA & CO. He equally floated the property Company of Allen Onyema & Company and an import trade outfit- Continental Business Links Ltd
In reaction to his generous acts, here’s what Fani Kayode said
Next time you complain about Igbos or subject them to the usual nonsensical racial-stereotyping kindly remember that when our compatriots were being slaughtered in South Africa it was an Igbo man called Onyema that sent his planes to bring them home and he did so free of charge!— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) September 13, 2019