A group, Concerned Diaspora Citizens, has described the allegations of financial misdeeds levelled against Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, as a deliberate attempt to kill the company and deepen Nigeria’s unemployment crisis.
In a statement issued Wednesday in Abuja and signed by the Coordinator, Mr Nosa Joel Aigbokhan, the group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to clinically study the situation with a view to making an informed decision.
“The indictment, to us is an attempt to kill Air Peace and create more unemployment for Nigerians under President Buhari’s administration. Before we knew it, Nigeria would be taking a prime position on the global unemployment index.
“We, therefore, beg President Buhari to systematically study the situation and stop Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies from helping foreign countries in stereotyping Nigerians both at home and abroad. As at this morning, we read the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized Onyema’s travel documents while there are talks about extradition.
“We must remember that Onyema was only indicted in another country and investigation is ongoing. Therefore, we think he has the right to represent himself and we understand that he cooperated during investigations but we cannot understand why his passport should be seized and why people are talking about extradition.
“Some argued that the said extradition is within the purview of the Attorney General of the Federation; this cannot be true. The Attorney General can only advise the President on the matter. He has no such powers to unilaterally carry out extradition as it is only the law court that can okay or overturns an extradition order,” the group said.
While drawing reference from other jurisdictions such as America, Columbia and the Netherlands especially in illicit financial issues and drug-related matters, the group said “even if Onyema is convicted he should be treated as an individual not as the CEO of Air Peace in order not to create more unemployment and uncertainty for his employees.
“In Onyema’s case, we stand to be corrected, this laundered money in question was laundered from Nigeria, meaning it is Nigerians money used in creating decent jobs for Nigerians instead of storing them away or burying in graveyards or storage tanks. While we are not making a case for illegality, we must not lose Air Peace and the jobs It created.
“Finally, our support is not just about Onyema or Air Peace but about the thousands he employed and the love and passion he brought to Nigeria’s airspace”, the group added.