By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
While pointing out that the sacrifices of Allen Onyema and his Air Peace not only to Nigeria, but the entire Africa, a group, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has tasked the Federal Government to wade in and prevent him from being crucified.
AYCF expressed this in a statement signed by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, made available to our correspondent on Sunday evening.
“In recent times, we have all watched with nostalgia and shame how the 2019 US Indictment of Allen Onyema has been used and promoted deliberately by a section of the Nigerian press to malign the character and businesses of one of Nigeria’s true nationalists in a calculated bid to bring him down and ultimately, Air Peace, Nigeria’s leading airline.
“The recent admission of the US government in court in the case of Ebony Mayfield, a staff of Springfield Aviation Company LLC, a United States based company, that no bank suffered any loss whatsoever in the transactions of Allen Onyema, is a pointer to the fact that this man never intended to commit any fraud in his dealings.
“This admission, by implication, equally confirms the assertion by his lawyers that every money used in the payment for the aircraft using the letter of credit instrument was legitimately owned by Allen Onyema and his businesses contrary to the previously held notions and insinuations that he committed bank fraud by fleecing the US banks of millions of dollars,” AYCF said.
It stressed that there was no victim in his transactions and no crime was ever intended.
“The lawyers asserted that all steps taken in respect of the Letters of Credit were therefore taken in good faith and with legitimate funds. All the aircrafts involved were brought into Nigeria and utilized in the operations of Air Peace Limited. There was no victim. There was no loss of funds to any person and there was no criminal intent whatsoever.
“Most importantly, the position of Air Peace has been reviewed by various Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria and no evidence of criminality has been established against either Allen Onyema or Air Peace
“We are convinced and, It is very obvious that this case, at best, arose out of the clash of misunderstandings of the processes of two different financial jurisdictions, Nigeria and the United States of America!
“This is not enough to be allowed to be used in bringing down a man who has given his all to his nation right from his teenage years in the university to this moment.
“Allen Onyema laid down his life for this country in the heady days of extreme violent militancy that almost brought Nigeria to its knees by singlehandedly, in 2005, began the transformation of the Militants by bringing down to Nigeria the entire faculty of the University of Rhode Island Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, USA led by the renowned Dr. Bernard Lafayette Jr at his own expense for love of country. He was applauded worldwide.
“It was his efforts that enabled the Federal Government to proclaim amnesty to the militants believing that they could be transformed.
“He has used his blessings to intervene during critical times on behalf of his nation. He brought pride to Nigeria and black race when he evacuated, free of charge, Nigerians of every ethnicity trapped in South Africa during the xenophobic attacks.
“During the COVID-19 worldwide lockdowns, he went on to evacuate Nigerians trapped in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China who could not afford ticket fares, free of charge back to their country. He has no political ambition but at every turn, he uses every opportunity to promote the unity and oneness of this country.
“Is this the person we, as a nation, are willing to sacrifice on the alter of an indictment that has become obviously very abusive?” The group queried.
They therefore, condemned the press release that even heralded this unfortunate indictment in 2019.
“That press release violated his rights and even American and Nigerian laws by making very extreme judgemental statements against his person. The press release even found him guilty even before trial!
“How could Nigeria allow their own to face a trial that has been already predetermined irrespective of proofs to the contrary?” They further queried.
In view of the above development, they unequivocally called on the Nigerian government to stand firmly with its citizens in moments of challenges abroad.
“Our government owes a duty to protect the integrity of its citizens and their corporate image whenever such is called into question.
“The government should wade into this matter immediately to bring it to a permanent end. Nigerians would not accept our government sitting on the fence while one its best is being destroyed with the might of a foreign country. If this is allowed to continue, Nigerian youths would lose faith in their nation.
“Would America allow a US company providing a meagre less than 100 jobs/employment in America to be so treated? No. Allen Onyema and his businesses, in a country where we are grappling with massive unemployment, are providing over 15,000 jobs!
“Why are we watching and waiting for him to be consumed? What has he done wrong? Even if he did any wrong, is the wrong enough to waste the over 15,000 jobs he created for his nation if he falls? What is the government doing?
“The Federal Government should repose implicit confidence in our citizens by protecting Allen Onyema. Every nation protects her interest.
“Pfizer, a US pharmaceutical company, orchestrated the death of hundreds of Nigerian children by deliberately using them as guinea pigs to test how their drugs kill. The US Government waded in to save theirs.
“The US caused the arrest of the daughter of the managing director of Huawei, a Chinese company, for money laundering. The Chinese government acted swiftly and the rest is history.
“Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank was accused by American of fraud and wanted him removed. African leaders and our government stepped in and it was halted.
“A Nigerian girl was arrested in Saudi Arabia for carrying drugs. The Nigerian government waded in to save her. Why the delay in wading into Allen Onyema’s case?
“We call on the Federal Government to immediately engage with the American government to halt this unfortunate indictment,” they insisted.