NDIGBO Lagos has called on the federal government and all Nigerians to support Allen Onyema, managing director, Air Peace, despite the indictment from United States government. The umbrella body of Igbo Organisations in Lagos, said Onyema needs robust diplomatic, psychological and material support of all Nigerians to overcome his current challenge.
Ndigbo Lagos, in a statement signed by Chuma Igwe, its secretary general, said: “The murky waters of competition of the international commercial airline industry have been an exclusive club where mostly governments and privately owned companies nurtured by super power and colonial privileges operate.
“The industry is also capital intensive with low margin, high risk, narrow long term survival potential and a major facilitator of economic development of those nations. Threat to competitors’ airline routes (especially by a non-state actor) can be responded to very viciously including weaponising and deploying the instruments of State to obliterate that vulnerable opponent. This cannot be ruled out completely in this instance with Air Peace leadership because of its ongoing expansion to international/ intercontinental routes.”
According to the organisation, “Air Peace Airline has, to the best of public knowledge, been a good corporate citizen to Nigeria. Despite its very significant presence in the Nigerian domestic passenger traffic business, the airline has never been known to leverage its dominant status to blackmail government. In fact, few months ago when the debate on the closure of Enugu International Airport was in the public space, Air Peace was known to have spoken publicly in support of government decision.
“The Nigerian transport sector is so challenged at the moment that it will be disastrous to allow Allen Onyema and Air Peace to go down,” it said.
It noted that Onyema has through its non governmental organisations been quietly supporting and promoting peace and harmony, particularly among youths. “It is in this realisation that we align ourselves with the statement of solidarity emanating from the umbrella body of Nigerian Ethnic Youth Leaders Forum among which are Ijaw Youth Council, Yoruba Council of Youths, Arewa Consultative Forum and Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council, who said inter alia “…We will neverfold our hands akimbo and watch helplessly and hopelesslyas one of our finest is being coerced and pulled down…”
The statement said that this coming from the leadership of the groups who Allen Onyema’s NGO have engaged with over the last decade is instructive.
“Never in our recent history had these often fractiously contending nationality groups even risen in unity for a common purpose as they have done for Allem Onyema.
Ndigbo Lagos noted that Onyema’s marriage to a Nigerian of Middle-belt origin show his cosmopolitan view which is attested to by the composition of the rank and file of his staff.
“He employs the best and brightest from all ethnic groups. His gender friendliness can also be witnessed to in the balancing in the administrative senior management cadre of AirPeace and it’s crew of pilots. Air Peace has an all female pilots crew. When his airline graciously lifted Nigerians pro bono from South Africa the majority state that benefited was not in the South East.
“In an era where people look for offshore havens to nest their money the MD/CEO of AirPeace believes in investing and creating jobs sustainably at home with over 3000 Nigerian youths now actively employed in real jobs within Nigeria alone for now,” it said, adding: “In the words of the great Nelson Mandela at the Clinton’s White House “ ..our morality as Africans do not allow us to abandon our friends when they are in trouble”.
It added that Onyema is a good man who deserves the support of all Nigerians, particularly from the federal government, legally necessary to get himself acquitted of the charges.
– Nov. 27, 2019 @ 16:25 GMT |