South East Governors have stated their support for the Air Peace boss, Allen Onyema, following his indictment by the United States Department of Justice for allegedly laundering $20 million.
Onyema was accused by the US authorities for allegedly laundering over $20m from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents for the purchase of airplanes
In a statement on Wednesday signed by the South-East Governors: David Umahi Ebonyi, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi Enugu; Willie Obiano Anambra; Emeka Ihedioha Imo; and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, they reiterated that though they may not have full details of the matter, there are innuendos that they will not accept.
The forum frowned at insinuations that some government officials are against the Air Peace boss, and as such, want to pull him down, stating that such statement only breeds hatred and disunity.
They pointed out that even Onyema has on different occasions commended President Muhammadu Buhari for assisting him to get up to five international licenses.
The forum pleaded with President Buhari to support and protect the Air Peace boss to enable him sort the matter peacefully so that his business will not suffer.
It said: “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.
“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 President 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, according the statement.”