One of Nigeria’s biggest private airlines, Air Peace has expressed readiness to evacuate Nigerians who are stranded and willing to leave crisis-ridden Sudan, albeit free of charge.
Speaking with aviation journalists on Sunday night in Lagos, the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, lamented that Nigerian students and others stranded in the war-racked nation had urgent “needs our help.”
Fierce fighting has been taking place across Sudan since April 15, 2023 after tensions between the Sudanese Army and RSF paramilitary force boiled over. The violence was triggered by disagreement over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government four years after the fall of authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir and two years after a military coup. Both sides accuse the other of thwarting the transition.
Onyema, however, gave a caveat that it would only evacuate the stranded Nigerians if they could be moved to a neighbouring country to enable the airline fly there and evacuate them, saying that Sudan’s airspace is closed from civil aviation flights at the moment.
Not the first time Air Peace is doing this
Air Peace had in 2019, deployed flights to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa amid raging xenophobic attacks in the country which threatened many Nigerians.
Onyema explained that he was compelled to help because Nigeria could not afford to lose her citizens in that country, adding that this would be his commitment to making sure that the stranded Nigerians in the war-torn country were safe.
READ ALSO : War: Why We Can Not Evacuate Over 4000 Nigerian Citizens From Sudan – Nigeria Government
He stressed that everything must not be left to the government alone, especially as the situation calls for urgency and immediate action. He said:
“Again, Air Peace is willing to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Sudan free of charge if the government can get them to a safe and secure airport in any of the neighbouring countries bordering Sudan. Everything must not be left to the government and the government alone. It will be a privilege and honour of tremendous pride that we will be out there to give every Nigerian stranded in Sudan a sense of pride and oneness in their country.
“We are very ready to do it immediately. No time wasting. Any action that would promote national pride, national cohesion, peace and unity, we are for it. Again, we have no apologies for believing in our nation and loving the nation despite certain national challenges. If they are moved to Kenya or Uganda or any other country, we will move in to get them out. Some parents have started calling on us to help. We are ready to do this again and again.”