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General News of Wednesday, 26 April 2023


Sudan Conflict: Air Peace CEO Onyema threatens to halt aid to Nigerian students as gesture takes ethnic colouration

The photo used to illustrate the story The photo used to illustrate the story

Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema has threatened to put a stop to his humanitarian acts towards Nigerians in the diaspora if his recent promise to aid Nigerians stuck in the conflict-torn Sudan is given an ethnic twist.

His comment comes after he said in a statement that Air Peace was willing to evacuate Nigerian stranded in Sudan on Monday, April 24. Onyeama said in the statement that Nigerian students and others stranded in war-ravaged Sudan have urgent “needs for our help.”

His acts of generosity have, however, taken an ethnic undertone on social media with Nigerians of Igbo extractions calling out billionaires of the other major tribes to replicate the good deeds of Onyeama who is Igbo.

Speaking in an exclusive interview on Arise Television on Wednesday, April 26, he said: "It pains me that my gesture is causing problems on social media, people are trying to bring ethnic angle into it, for those supporting me and saying an Igbo man is doing this or that, please stop.

And people from the other tribes who are not Igbo and have one or two things to say, stop! it's a Nigerian thing. It not Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa. I don't was a good gesture to be turned into an ethnic debacle. It pains me. It's getting uncomfortable and I might not do this again."

The conflict between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary group, Rapid Support Force (RSF), has claimed over 400 lives with about 3,500 injured.

The clashes have also displaced thousands of civilians, who fled the capital, Khartoum, as the violence, which started on April 8, entered its 15th day on Sunday.

Nigeria and countries said they have initiated actions to evacuate their citizens to safety.

Onyema suggested that Nigerians could be moved to a neighboring country the airline would fly there and evacuate them, as Sudan’s airspace is closed from civil aviation flights.