Chris Ekiyor, Convener of Integration Summit Group of Nigeria, ISG-N, has said that the ordeal of the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Air Peace, Allen Onyema, in the United States, US, regarding money laundering is the handiwork of some influential foreign monopolists.
Ekiyor, a former Commissioner in Delta State and fourth President of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, said this in an interview with Vanguard.
He urged the Federal Government to save Onyema from the foreign schemers, who are threatened by his spectacular rise in the aviation industry.
His words, “In my opinion, some powerful foreign monopolists, who feel threatened by his meteoric rise in the aviation industry are behind his current trials. The recent US indictment of Allen Onyema and his business transactions came as a big shock to me, Allen and I have known since 2005.”
“They felt that with the way he is going, if they do not stop him now, he may eventually give them a run for their flight into Nigeria under the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement, BASA,” he added.
He added also that, “Allen played a big role in bringing the oil war of 2009 in Nigeria to an end and worked with Ijaw youths in saving the lives of Americans and their businesses in the Niger Delta region.”
Ekiyor said, “I do not know what the US law says in this kind of arrangement. Perhaps the US is in a better position to tell us where and how Allen violated their banking system. But where goodwill exists, an honest mistake is never blown out of proportion like what we are seeing now with Allen, he has been maliciously blanketed as money launderer.”
“There are hazards transferring huge sums through someone else’s account. People had paid money into the accounts of investments firms only to lose their deposits. America will always protect Americans’ interest over foreigners in any dispute. Therefore, it was safer for Allen to open his own company in America and from there pay a third party to supply him the aircraft he needed. His was good thinking,” he added.
“He is a wise businessman who invested heavily in real estate. Allen told me about his investments even before diversifying into aviation. I think he got the idea from training our boys as aviators. Anyone doubting his integrity should investigate if he bought his planes cash or he owes banks.
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“America must understand that Allen made his money legitimately. He was a very successful man when I first met him. He was in real estate big time, lived in a comfortable home, frequented South Africa and funded non-violence programmes with his own money or with funds provided by Shell. None of his NGOs has ever received grants. FEHN paid tax from legitimate jobs.
“Nigerian NGOs resort to contract and consultancy to survive in the absence of grants. A percentage of their profit goes to charity while a percentage goes to the owners. Allen was the sole owner and administrator of his foundation. However, if the charge against him is that he moved millions of dollars to America, his accusers should also realize there was no way he could have possibly carried that kind of money in a briefcase. Allen legitimately transferred his money overseas through the Nigerian Central Bank that cleared him. He also used the monies for the very transactions.
“But I make haste to declare that those monies were not American monies. Those monies were not missing Nigerian monies in any office. Those monies were not from dubious Yahoo business. Those monies were monies earned legitimately by a hardworking business person. Anyone thinking that Allen would deliberately endanger his reputation by doing something stupid does not really know him,” Ekiyor stated.