The South East Governors Forum has come out in support of the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, over his indictment by the United States Department of Justice for allegedly laundering $20 million.
A statement signed by Governors Ifeanyi Uguwanyi (Enugu), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), said even though the forum cannot claim to have the full knowledge of the matter, there are some insinuations it will not accept.
The forum said the insinuation that some government officials are against Onyema and would want to pull him down is a ploy to instigate hatred against him as he is ‘at peace’ with the Federal Government and has on various occasions, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for assisting him get up to five international licenses.
The governors urged Buhari to support and protect Onyema to enable him sort out the matter peacefully so that his business, which t has contributed to the growth of the aviation industry will not suffer. The statement reads: “We have read a lot of comments by various individuals and interest groups on the matter.
“The insinuation that some Nigerians or some government officials are against Onyema and would want to pull him down by all means is a ploy to instigate hatred against him. He has remained in the 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 the president for assisting him 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.
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.”
Onyema is accused 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.