The Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and other social cultural groups in a statement said they suspect a high level of conspiracy in the allegations against Onyema.
Following the $20m fraud allegation leveled against the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council and other socio-cultural groups in Nigeria have pleaded with government and civil societies to protect the businessman.
On Friday, November 22, 2019, the US Department of Justice indicted Onyema Allen.
The businessman was accused of moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.
Although, Onyema has denied the allegations against him, US government has issued an arrest warrant for the 56-yr-old businessman.
Reacting to the allegations, socio-cultural groups comprising Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, Yoruba Council of Youths, the Ijaw Youth Council and Arewa Consultative Youth Forum have urged the Federal Government to intervene and protect the businessman.
In a statement jointly issued under the aegis of Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum ( NENYLF) on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the groups said they suspect a high level of conspiracy in the allegations against Onyema.
The statement read, “Much as Nigerians will not object a legal action by any court in the world, we will never, ever fold our arms akimbo and watch helplessly and hopelessly as one of our finest is being coerced and pulled down in broad daylight, without an iota of any subsisting clear evidence from a joint investigation between the US law enforcement agencies and Nigeria counterparts to determine the veracity of the claims before unleashing this dreadful move, deliberately aimed at tainting the image of Onyema.
“We would like to draw the attention of his Nigeria business rivals in the aviation sector, that we suspect high-level complicity and conspiracy theory by some of his sworn enemies working hand-in-hand with their American partners to destroy Onyema Air Peace Airline and other investments.
“Consequently we shall explore all available legitimate legal means in defending one of the most exemplary Nigerian and ambassador of peace and uncommon investor; hence Mr Onyema deserves our unflinching supports.
“We call on fellow Nigerians, leaders of thoughts and civil society organisations in the country to rise to this new judicial brigandage designed to destroy our own in a foreign land.”
However, having issued an arrest warrant for Onyema, the US government may seek his extradition to the United States for trial.
Nigeria and the United States have a mutual legal assistance policy that allows both countries to extradite suspects facing criminal charges, but it’s not yet clear if the US has sought the assistance of the Federal Government of Nigeria in extraditing the 56-yr-old businessman.