In what appeared to be a challenge to other airlines, members of the House of Representatives gave a standing ovation to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema on Wednesday.
Onyema received an invitation from the lawmakers to commend him for offering free services bringing Nigerian citizens stuck up in the xenophobic attacks in South Africa back to Nigeria.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, shortly after saying the opening prayers, asked that the Order Paper be temporarily suspended to allow the lawmakers to receive Onyema for recognition.
As the Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno ushered Onyema into the chamber, the lawmakers gave him a rousing welcome and standing ovation.
Others approached him to embrace and shake hands with him.
Gbajabiamila, while addressing the assembly commended the airline boss over the humanitarian roles he played in the wake of xenophobic attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians in South Africa.
He said the act was a rare show of patriotism that ought to be celebrated.
“We hereby commend Mr Allen Onyeama and recommend him to the federal government for higher honours in Nigeria,” the Speaker said.
Oyemama, in response, thanked the lawmakers for the honour.
He added that his actions were spontaneous and he would do anything to evacuate even a single Nigerian and also seized the opportunity to call for unity across the country.
Speaker Gbajabiamila also went to his official twitter handle @Femigbaja to give details of his meeting with the airline boss.
“I just met with Mr. Allen Onyema the CEO of Aipeace, we owe him gratitude for flying Nigerians stranded in South Africa back home at no cost, his benevolence will not be forgotten. Join me in thanking him,” Gbajabiamila tweeted.