Governors of the South-East states under the aegis of South-East Governors’ Forum, have thrown their weight behind the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, in the wake of his recent indictment for fraud by the US.
They have also called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the US ambassador to Nigeria to intervene in the matter.
The Governors vowed to do everything within the law to support Onyema through his present travails.
In a statement, the Governors posited that there was no strong indication that the Air Peace boss committed any crime, noting that businesses were meant to have one issue or the other to settle.
The Governors recalled all the support which Buhari and some government officials have given Onyema in growing his airline business within and outside the country and urged the government not to abandon him now.
“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 licences. 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 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.”
Recall that the United States Department of Justice had alleged that Onyema and his airline’s chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, moved more than $20 million from Nigeria through US bank accounts in a scheme involving “false documents” based on the purchase of airplanes, among others.
This led to the reported seizure of Onyema’s passport by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.