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Allen Onyema: Saving Nigerians one flight at a time
Allen Onyema

Allen Onyema: Saving Nigerians one flight at a time


Misfortune does one of two things, it either forges resilience or it breaks you – it reveals the best of men or it unmasks the ugliness in the heart – it allows strength flow from your reserve or it unearths your weakness.

From bad governance to insecurity to a sickly health system and death traps littered around us, an average Nigerian is used to the unsavouriness of misfortune.


In all these stands out a man, the colour of his blood likely Green-White-Green, arguably a late entrant into the aviation sector, flying Nigerians in fortune and in misfortune.

Born in Benin City to Michael and Helen Onyema as the first of nine children in 1964, Allen Onyema, CON is a Nigerian lawyer and entrepreneur and the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, which he established in 2013. He hails from Anambra State, in the Southeastern part of Nigeria.

Allen’s instinct to salvage misfortunes and troubled situations didn’t just catch a spark because he owns the means. As an undergrad in the University of Ibadan, his appetite for peace made him lead a group of nine other students to travel to the ancient city of Zaria to quell a raging religious and ethnic riot that claimed lives. As a result of the publicity he and his colleagues received on return to their campus, their enthusiasm grew and this led to the formation of a group known then as Eminent Friends’ Group – a group formed with the objectives of promoting ethnic harmony amongst Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities and fighting the incidence of violence of all forms. Upon graduation from the university in 1987, he established branches of the organization in all the states of the federation.


From evacuating Nigerians of every ethnicity trapped in South Africa during the xenophobic attacks to air lifting Nigerians trapped in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China who could not afford ticket fares, during the Covid-19 worldwide lockdowns, and recently Nigerians trapped in Sudan, all free of charge, Allen Onyema has saved Nigerians, one flight at a time.

Speaking on what motivates him, Allen noted that his gesture was not a publicity stunt but born out of the love he has for Nigeria. His goal was to make use of his blessings to unite Nigerians and harness the opportunities that abound in the diverse ethnic nationalities of the country.

“Nigeria is a country of 378 ethnic nationalities which is supposed to be our strength. The diversity we have today is an envy to all. It pains me that we have not been able to weave the country together in over 60 years of our independence.

“(I do) whatever I have to do to encourage people to come together to promote unity and encourage broad nationalism as against ethnic and religious nationalism which we have in this country. That is why I do it. I do it because I love this country and I believe we can be better.


“I love using my God-given blessings to help my country. I laid down my life in the Niger Delta for this country. To me, that is my greatest service to this nation because Boko Haram would have been child’s play but I laid down my life and got Niger Delta sorted and today everybody is enjoying it, everyone has forgotten about that.

“…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”, he said.

Disowning ethnic colourations of his gesture, he noted: “It is a Nigerian thing, not Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. I don’t want a good gesture to be turned into an ethnic debacle, it makes me uncomfortable to the extent that I might not do this again, because I want to promote unity and not cause disunity”.


In 2022, Allen further demonstrated his characteristic love for the country’s unity through sports, by pledging to build a Wall of Fame for Nigeria’s distinguished sports icons whose strides played role in unifying the country, projecting her in a favourable light and representing the entire Black race positively, while offering them lifetime free flights on Air Peace.

He said: “…Air Peace shall sponsor the building of a Wall of Fame where the names of our sports heroes of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and those of others who have won laurels for our dear nation, beginning with the then Green Eagles and our national football team that won the African Cup of Nations for Nigeria for the first time in our history, will be displayed. Those that won sporting laurels in various sporting events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and subsequent African Cup of Nations will also be included in this Wall of Fame.

“For the 1980 National Football team referred to above, Air Peace shall sponsor an event where they would be celebrated and honoured. The surviving members of that team are hereby made Special Ambassadors of Air Peace and are entitled, for the rest of their lives, to fly Air Peace free of charge, six times in every year on the domestic destinations and once a year to any foreign destination serviced by Air Peace.

“On the night of celebrations in their honour, Air Peace shall equally give out certain financial rewards to all members of that team including the heirs or spouses of the deceased ones amongst them”.

Allen Onyema embodies the true Nigerian traits our Founding Fathers toiled for, wrapped in unity devoid of any seeming ethnic divide. Nigeria cannot thank him enough, but we can do more by emulating Allen in our various tiny corners in the country.

Air Peace is an example of the love with which Nigerian indigenous firms can work to bring positive change and progress to our dear country. This is why the need to encourage the establishment of indigenous firms with fair taxing capital and the enabling environment to flourish cannot be over emphasized.

Allen does not only airlift Nigerians free, he teaches the citizens what patriotism, national unity and peace means, one act after another, one flight after another.

Before you pray for God to give Nigeria more citizens like Allen Onyema, remember you can be the answer to that prayer; be the needed change in your little corner.

Onochie Jon-Igwesi & Muna Chinedu wrote from Enugu


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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