By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
A coalition of ethnic groups, the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, the Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide and the Ijaw Council Worldwide, has thrown their weight behind the embattled Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, who was alleged of money laundering and other fraud related offences by the United States.
The coalition under the umbrella of Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF) warned that nothing must happen to Onyema, accusing business rivals of the CEO of collaborating with some people in the United States government to harass the businessman.
In a joint statement signed by their various Presidents, Yerima Shettima, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Aremo Oladotun Hassan, and Barrister Pereotubo Oweilaemi, respectively, said they would no longer fold their arms and watch individuals with passion to rescue Nigeria brought down through unverified allegations.
“We are beginning to see a pattern that smacks of conspiracy by his business rivals in Nigeria, working together with their American collaborators to rubbish one of the few outstanding philanthropists in Nigeria. Onyema has, since built the reputation of a peace promoter who brokered peace between the late President Yaradua-led Federal Government and militants of the Niger-Delta using his well-known platform of peace and reconciliation”, said the coalition.
The groups explained that in as much as Nigerians would not object to legal action by any court in the world, they would not fold their arms and watch hopelessly to see the CEO being pulled down.
“We would like to draw the attention of his Nigerians rivals that we suspect are working hand-in-hand with their American partners, that we will follow every legitimate legal means of defending one of the most exemplary Nigerian investors that we have in Mr. Onyema. We call on fellow civil society organizations in the country to rise up to this new judicial brigandage designed to destroy our son of the soil in a foreign land”, said the coalition.
The statement reads :This is indeed the time to tell the whole world, including United States officials holding Onyema, that enough of this harassment scheme against successful Nigerian investors. We make bold to say that at this crucial moment in the history of our beloved country what we need is more of Allen Onyema. And we are determined to promote the emergence of Nigerian investors who have great sympathy for the poor and all those facing extraordinary life’s difficulties: