The chairman and chief executive officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema has donated N70 million to the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State to develop its infrastructure.
Onyema who announced the donation after he was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at the 9th convocation of the institution recently also pledged to set up Nigeria’s first Centre for Non-violence and Peace Studies in the institution.
He said ethno-religious conflict s had pulled Nigeria apart and urged Nigerians to drop ethnic sentiments in favour of building a united and peaceful nation.
“I want to help education. I want to fight the incidence of violence and ethnicity in this country. The greatest bane of our development is ethnicity. That is why I want to set up the first Centre for Non-violence and Peace Studies for them (Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Anambra State) by collaborating with the university and making it an elective course for students, so that people will start learning how to manage conflict.
“Conflict is a catalyst for change but it depends on how you manage it. The institute I want to set up here will help Nigerians with the ways and means of managing conflicts to achieve better results,” he added.
He further said he was proud of his contribution to douse ethnic agitations in the Niger Delta and other flash points in the country through his organisation, The Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN).
He also stated that ethno-religious violence could be efficiently tackled through education and provision of employment opportunities for Nigerians.
For its part, he said the airline had led the way in job creation with the provision of tens of thousands of direct and indirect employment to Nigerians without ethnic considerations as part of the carrier’s contribution to the nation’s economic development.
He thanked the university for honouring him and urged the federal government to continue to accord Nigerian businesses the needed support to empower them to speed up the nation’s socio-economic development.
Thereafter, the airline chief said he had determined to work and fix the challenges of the nation’s aviation sector with his airline.
Onyema therefore urged the federal government to resist the temptation to set up a national carrier.
He said experience around the world had proved that the model is at best a drain on lean public resources.
Currently, Onyema said Air Peace has 27 aircraft in its fleet, besides the firm order it recently placed with Boeing for 10 brand new B737 Max 8 aircraft.
He also said the airline had demonstrated doubtless capacity to fix the challenges of seamless flights on the domestic and international routes.
“Today, we operate into 14 domestic and five regional destinations, with plans for the inauguration of our long-haul flights to Dubai, Sharjah, London, Houston, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai and Johannesburg nearing completion,” he said.