Onyema has created well over 3000 jobs through the establishment of Air Peace in 2014 and in less than 10 years the airline has grown to own the largest fleet in West Africa.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja at an event to herald the NPOM Award ceremony, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the conferment of National Productivity Order of Merit Award was a positive step by government to institutionalise productivity consciousness and excellence in service among workers and organisations in Nigeria towards redirecting their efforts to the growth and development of our economy.
The other objectives of the Award are to reward the most productive workers and organisations in both public and private sectors for diligence, high performance, high productivity and research achievements; encourage and foster the spirit of healthy competition amongst workers, firms and companies in Nigeria, and encourage the spirit of self-reliance.
Onyema, one of this year’s recipients, is a renowned entrepreneur who came into the consciousness of Nigerians in 2019 when he evacuated hundreds of Nigerians from South Africa during Xenophobic attacks when South African blacks were killing other blacks in their country.
Since then he has made other interventions for the country’s citizens.
During the lockdown, Air Peace evacuated many Nigerians from different parts of the world who were unable to pay for tickets to take them back to Nigeria.
The airline evacuated Nigerians from India, Thailand, Malaysia and some other African countries.
Onyema has been involved in many social investments, which have impacted Nigerians in various ways, especially the deployment of aircraft for rescue flights during lockdown in 2020, corporate philanthropy, massive employment, and other social impact initiatives.
Before the establishment of Air Peace, Onyema started the peace initiative that led to the end of violent militancy in the Niger Delta through his Nonviolence Transformation Programmes and he is unequivocally a firm believer in the oneness and unity of Nigeria and nationalist who is constantly using his God-given resources to promote the harmonious co-existence of Nigeria’s diverse ethnic nationalities.
He has also made successful strides in advancing Nigeria’s aviation industry, including being the launch customer of the Embraer 195-E2 airplanes in the whole of Africa.
President Buhari honoured other business moguls in Nigeria, including Chief Mike Adenuga, the Chairman of Globacom, Jim Ovia, the Founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Abdulsamad Rabiu, the Founder of BUA Group and Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, a renowned farmer and currently the Chairman of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Secretary to the Federal Government, Bode Mustapha was also recongised with National Merit Award for the role he played during the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.