Governors of the South East geopolitical zone have asked president Muhammadu Buhari to continue to support CEO of West Africa’s leading airline, Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema in the light of his recent indictment by the United States Justice Department.
Onyema was recently indicted by the US authorities for allegedly laundering over $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents for the purchase of airplanes.
The indictment had elicited diverse comments with many alleging that there were plots by certain individuals within the Buhari government who are intent on pulling down Air Peace.
However, in a statement co-signed by the governors of Ebonyi State, David Umahi; Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Anambra, Chief Willie Obiano; Imo, Emeka Ihedioha and Abia, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the governors rejected suggestions that some government officials were against Onyema, pointing out that such would only promote division in the country.
The governors expressed support for Onyema, noting that although their forum may not have full details of the matter, it was important that Nigerian government does all that is necessary to ensure that Onyema’s airline does not suffer.
“We have read a lot of comments by different individuals and interest groups on the matter and want to point out that the insinuations that some Nigerians or government officials are against Onyema and want to pull him down by all means is a ploy to instigate hatred against him,” the governor said.
“He has remained in Aviation industry which is highly challenging in our country when many people could not cope.
“Onyema is at peace with the federal government and has on various occasions commended President Buhari for assisting him to get up to five international licenses. Many officials of Buhari’s administration had stood for him many times in promoting and encouraging Air Peace operations in and outside Nigeria.
“Air Peace is a business and most businesses usually have one issue or the other to settle and this one is not an exception. We plead with Buhari to please continue to give Onyema all the necessary support and protection to enable him sort out this matter peacefully.”
The governors said Onyema has assisted Nigeria’s aviation industry greatly, while calling on all Nigerians to stand behind him at this trying time.
“Onyema has highly assisted the aviation industry in Nigeria and we must all stand to defend this business. The governors of the South East will do everything within the law to support Onyema overcome this issue so as to continue to offer more excellent services to Nigeria.
“We request the US Ambassador to Nigeria to please step into the matter so as to peacefully resolve the issue without destroying Onyema’s reputation. We also urge Onyema to engage experienced and external financial managers to work with the US government in resolving and rectifying his business tax matter if any”.