Allen Onyeama, chief executive of Air Peace, has warned that his support to evacuate stranded Nigerians from war-torn Sudan should not be considered an ethnic matter.
Onyeama disclosed this on Wednesday during an Arise Television interview.
He stated that his action was not a publicity stunt but instead borne out of the deep conviction to promote the unity of Nigeria.
He however regretted that some Nigerians on social media have turned his gesture to ethnic warfare.
He said the country’s unity is paramount to him, which should be true for all Nigerians, adding that he would send three jets to Egypt to airlift Nigerians being evacuated from Sudan.
“I am a good adherent of what you can do for your nation, not what your country can do for you.
“I feel personally honoured to help my country; it is not a publicity stunt because I have been doing it right from my university days.
“However, it pains me that my gesture has started causing some problems on social media. People are trying to bring an ethnic angle into it. For those supporting me, the Igbos rooting for me, saying an Igbo man is doing this and this, please stop. And people from the other tribes with one or two things to say about the development should stop. It is a Nigeria thing, not about Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa. It isn’t a good gesture to turn into an ethnic debacle; it pains me and makes me uncomfortable to the extent that I might not do it again. I want to promote unity, not disunity,” he said.
Recall that Onyeama offered to evacuate stranded Nigerians in Sudan for free; however, his gesture generated mixed reactions.
Sudan’s crisis erupted on 15 April 2023, involving warring factions led by two generals.
Though a 72-hour ceasefire was announced on Tuesday, countries have continued to evacuate their citizens from the region.