Xenophobic violence: HURIWA applauds Air Peace for free Air lift of Nigerians

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO'S COLUMN GENERAL NEWS

The magnanimous and phenomenal decision of the leading Nigerian commercial air liner – Air Peace to freely air lift Nigerians from South Africa to escape the violent xenophic attacks has been described as the true manifestation of the Nigerian core value of humanitarianism and mercy in times of need.

Making the observations is the prominent civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which has similarly advocated the setting up of an economic restoration trust fund of N10 billion to be managed by credible Nigerian Statesmen/Women by the Nigerian government and prominent multinational companies and wealthy Nigerians so those Nigerians returning from South Africa can be supported with financial assistance to be able to immediately resume their legitimate businesses which have now been destroyed by black south Africans. The Rights group said the donation of free air tickets and planes to fly in Nigerians by Air Peace is also a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari.  

In a media statement in Abuja by the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA described Air Peace as an excellent corporate citizen/Ambassador of Nigeria and one of those companies that have identified positively with the president Muhammadu Buhari’s interventions to save the lives of Nigerians endangered by the widening spectre of violent xenophobia in south Africa.

HURIWA also described the free air lift of Nigerians from south Africa by Air Peace as the most practical steps of advancing the Right to life of the Nigerian citizens enshrined in section 33(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended).

The Rights group in the same vein has asked president Muhammadu Buhari to confer a national honour to Air Peace on behalf of all Nigerians to encourage the company to continue to implement pro-poor corporate social responsibility and to motivate other Nigerian and multinational firms doing legitimate businesses in the country to place the highest value to the respect of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians. HURIWA said generations yet unborn will remember this good gesture of Air Peace with nostalgia and will similarly remember that the Country was under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari when a commercial air liner called Air Peace came forward to offer free air lift of Nigerians who are subjected to bloody violence by their hosts in South African townships. 

“The entire organized civil rights community received the news that Air Peace has volunteered to send planes to freely air lift Nigerians to escape the bloody attacks in South Africa. This show of solidarity with president Buhari and the Nigerian people by the Air Peace commercial company is a demonstration of the rare quality of hospitality and excellent corporate social responsibility.”

HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian government had advised its citizens to “inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage” of a free return trip to Nigeria.

HURIWA recalled that this is because Air Peace, a Nigerian airline, volunteered to send an aircraft to South Africa to bring back Nigerians willing to return.

This gesture of Air Peace HURIWA stated was announced by Ferdinand Nwonye, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement on Thursday.

According to the Rights group: “It is a notorious fact that many Nigerians in South Africa have suffered from the latest xenophobic attacks with many businesses destroyed and looted. Although at least five people have been killed in the attacks targeting foreigners of African descent, the Nigerian government has said no Nigerians were killed.

“HURIWA is well aware of the efforts being made by Nigerian government to provide succpur jusy as we are aware that the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, said on Wednesday that Nigeria would not ‘cave in’ on its two demands from South Africa, which are compensation for Nigerians whose properties were destroyed and provision of adequate security for Nigerians in South Africa. We commend the government for using the instrumentality of The foreign affairs ministry’s statement on Wednesday to suggest that the government was encouraging Nigerians in South Africa to return. The statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that informed the general public that following the recent unfortunate xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in South Africa, the Proprietor of Air Peace Airlines Chief Allen Onyema, has volunteered to send an aircraft from Friday 6th September 2019 to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria free of charge remains a phenomenal show of solidarity and the greatest manifestation of the African cultural value system of hospitality and respect for the sanctity of life. 

HURIWA further recalled that it indeed was great that the general public was clearly advised to inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage of this laudable gesture of Air Peace  and return to Nigeria. We join the government to say that Interested Nigerians are therefore advised to liaise with the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg for further necessary arrangement.”

HURIWA recalled that the Attacks: Recent xenophobic attacks targeting Nigerians and other nationals in Johannesburg, Pretoria and other cities have left at least five people dead and businesses and private properties burnt.

HURIWA recalled that South African authorities say they are responding promptly to curb the violence. More than 70 persons have been reportedly taken into custody since Monday.

Nigerians have expressed outrage about the attacks, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to take decisive measures against South Africa.

The Nigerian president HURIWA recalled announced on Tuesday that he was sending a special envoy for an on-the-ground assessment of the situation.

HURIWA stated also that on Wednesday, Nigeria said it would recall its Ambassador to South Africa, Kabiru Bala.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was also scheduled to attend the World Economic Summit in Cape Town, has now boycotted the event.

HURIWA said the decision was salutary. 

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