The chairman Chief Executive officer of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema was weekend, conferred with the prestigious Honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration during the 9th Convocation Ceremony of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University.
The successful businessman threw the university community and invited guest at the event into a frenzy of joy and excitement when he announced a donation of N70 million towards the upgrade of the institution’s infrastructure and a pledge to build Nigeria’s first Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies in the institution.
Onyema said the proposed Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies would fight violence, crime and ethnic agitations the way his organisation, The Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), did with its campaign to restore peace in the Niger Delta.
Onyema appealed to the youths and other Nigerians to shun their ethnic sentiments and work for peace and unity to quicken the country’s socio-economic development.
His words: “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 Nonviolence 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.”
Dr. Onyema insisted that ethno-religious violence could be effectively addressed with education and job creation.
He pointed out that Air Peace had continued to lead the way in creation of job opportunities with the provision of thousands of direct and indirect employment to Nigerians without ethnic considerations as part of the airline’s contribution to the socio-economic development of the nation.
Onyema confirmed that the carrier currently had 27 aircraft in its fleet, besides the firm order it recently placed with Boeing for 10 brand new B737 Max 8 aircraft.
He insisted that the airline had demonstrated enough capacity to plug the gaps in air transport services on the domestic and international routes, including Dubai, Sharjah, London, Houston, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai and Johannesburg.
He urged the Federal Government to resist the temptation to set up a national carrier, insisting that experience across the world had proved that the idea was a drain on public resources.