By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has denied allegations that he collaborated with the Anambra State Government to deploy soldiers to one of the Local Government Areas in the state.
Onyema who said he had no knowledge of any deployment of military personnel anywhere in the state, expressed shock that such allegations could be levelled against him.
He also expressed shock at the ‘propaganda’ against his person, saying that he has always stood for peace and has significantly contributed to the development of his community and also empowered youths by creating jobs for thousands of Nigerians.
He said he does not even believe in the use of force to settle the issues at hand but believes in dialogue and nonviolence, which are a more potent way to ensure the reign of peace in any society. Onyema said he was bewildered that anyone could suggest that he would bring armed soldiers to kill his own people or any other persons for that matter, describing it as the height of callousness by anybody.
‘My attention has been drawn to a recorded voice trending in the social media in which I was mentioned as having collaborated with the Anambra State Government in the deployment of military personnel to Mbosi junction on the Onitsha-Owerri express road that resulted in the killing of two youths from the area.
‘I find this accusation one too many and very unfortunate. I didn’t know that there were even soldiers stationed anywhere in the whole Local Government Area not to talk of bringing them to that particular spot. There is no truth whatsoever in this assertion. It remains what it is: naked mischief aimed at smearing my name and bringing me in direct confrontation with my people who actually know better.
‘So how could I have brought in soldiers? Who am I? I do not exercise executive political powers at any level of government and therefore cannot deploy soldiers or any security personnel for any reason. I am also not the Chief of Army Staff or even the commander of the smallest military formation in Nigeria. From where do I have powers to move soldiers around the country for military duties? I have not ever suggested the use of force or army to solve problems that dialogue and peaceful engagement can solve and I will never do that.
‘What was or is my offence? If this is about my persistent call for all sides to apply peaceful means to resolve national differences, I would like to reiterate that I cannot call for war in my homeland in order to please certain quarters. I am doing God’s work by calling for peace at all times. Constantly demonising and calling me all manner of bad names is unhelpful as it is shocking and unfortunate.
‘What do I stand to gain from doing that after providing thousands of jobs for teaming Igbo youths and other Nigerians? I touch lives on a daily basis and will never support anything that could harm anyone. I am emboldened by real facts to say that this campaign of calumny will not fly. I have done more for Igboland and Nigeria to be truly appreciated and undeserving of this kind of deliberate falsehood to paint me in a bad light,’ Onyema said.