Outlawed Niger Delta militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has reacted to the current ordeal of the chairman of AirPeace airline, Allen Onyema in the United States.
BIGPEN Online had reported that Onyema was charged with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.
The US State Department of Justice (DoJ), in a statement posted on its website on Friday, last week, said Air Peace Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.
But MEND, in a statement on Wednesday by its traditional spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, linked the Onyema’s travail to the allegedly fraudulent deals in the Presidential Amnesty Office dated back to the days of Kingsley Kuku as special adviser to the then president.
The group alleged that the AirPeace boss who had since denied the allegation leveled against him by the US department of Justice, is also a key figure alongside Kuku and Eghagha in the monumental fraud in the amnesty programme.
The statement is reproduced below in full:
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) commends the United States of America for busting and exposing Mr Allen Onyema, Kingsley Kuku, Ejiroghene Eghagha and the Niger Delta amnesty fraud.
The Niger Delta amnesty program which MEND vehemently opposed from day one, was built on a fraudulent foundation from inception, starting with the grossly exaggerated figure of militants put at thirty thousand (30,000), a figure that was a key element in perpetuating the fraud which has continued up until this very day.
This was followed by over-invoicing of inflated overseas training programs as a way of transferring excess money through legitimate bank transactions.
In fact, ninety-nine percent of the beneficiaries from the padded training programs had nothing to do with militancy.
The administration of Goodluck Jonathan, aware of the fraud, were more interested in giving the semblance of peace in the Niger Delta rather than addressing the root issues for which we took up arms.
Issues in the mutilated constitution and the need for dialogue before disarmament were completely ignored.
Authentic freedom fighters like the Okah brothers, Henry and Charles, who insisted on the right steps to be taken and who opposed the glaring amnesty fraud were labelled uncooperative, framed on trumped up charges and jailed.
MEND carried out the October 1, 2010 independence day twin bombings in Abuja in protest of the amnesty fraud which Goodluck Jonathan was comfortable with as long as it guaranteed his presidency.
Kingsley Kuku, the then Special Adviser on the Niger Delta Amnesty Program, Allen Onyema and Ejiroghene Eghagha are key figures in the monumental fraud which shortchanged the region and insulted those who paid the ultimate price for a better Niger Delta region.
But there are several others down the chain such as Senators and members of the House of Representatives (who received kickbacks, well aware that the budget for the Amnesty Office was heavily padded), as well as ex militant commanders who knew fully well that the number of militants in the entire region couldn’t have been more than two thousand (2,000) and the excess figure of twenty-eight thousand (28,000) put out were ghosts, but conspired to keep silent.
We know this as a fact and when compared to the number of weapons that were submitted, would it have meant that 28,000 men were fighting with sticks and oars?
It is a shame and indictment on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) that they had to wait until Allen Onyema, a greedy conflict entrepreneur was exposed by the FBI before speaking out.
Peace Airlines and every known asset belonging to Allen Onyema, and the fixed assets of every known person involved in duping the Niger Delta region through the amnesty fraud has become legitimate targets for attack.