South-East governors have appealed to President Buhari to protect businessman and owner of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema, in the wake of the recent $20 million fraud allegation levelled against Onyema by the United States Department of Justice.
Recall that the US Department of Justice released a statement a few weeks ago accusing Onyema alongside his airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, of “moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through some United States banks in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.” Eghagha was also accused of bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme. The US Department of Justice also accused Onyeama and Eghagha of using the money laundered to buy luxury cars, including a Rolls Royce for $180,000 and Mercedes for $88, 500 among others.
In a statement released, the South East governors appealed to President Buhari to protect Onyema in the wake of the allegations. They also declared their support for the businessman.
Their statement in part reads;
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.” the statement read