FG Dragged To Court Over Alleged Plan To Extradite Air Peace Boss, Allen Onyema To USA
A human rights activist, Johnmary Jideobi has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to stop the Federal Government from making any attempt to extradite Air Peace Chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema, based on his alleged indictment in the United States of America.
KanyiDaily had reported that Allen Onyema might be extradited to America after the US District Court of the Northern District of Georgia issued a warrant of arrest against him over alleged money laundering and bank fraud.
Onyema was accused of “moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.”
Johnmary Jideobi, who is equally a constitutional lawyer, prayed the court to declare that on the strength of decided case laws in the country, neither FG nor any of its agencies with prosecutorial powers could process an extradition request against Onyema, owing to civil aviation contracts his duly registered companies entered with other duly registered companies in the USA.
He also requested for an order of the court restraining any agency of government with prosecutorial powers as represented by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) from attempting to use or seeking to harass, threaten, arrest or inviting or arresting Onyema in relations to Civil aviation contract he entered with American authorities through his companies.
In the suit with Reference No.: FHC/ABJ/CS/1446/2019, the activist also sought the court order barring government, its agencies, servants of privies from giving effect to any extradition request from any country of the world especially the United States of America anchored on any indictment or charges reflecting in substance or similar fact as contained in the US extradition request against Onyema.
The court was also urged to make any other order or orders as circumstances in his situation may warrant.
In a 6-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, the applicant claimed to have come from Anambra state with Onyema and that he had known him as a reputable business man in the aviation sector over the years.
The activist averred that the freedom of Onyema has become endangered in the country and likely to be curtailed in the circumstances of the alleged fraud indictment.
The affidavit deposed to by one Martin’s Okoye, a legal practitioner said that the applicant has piously with sufficient understanding the entirety of the alleged criminal indictment and believed that the totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding the indictment points to multiple civil aviation-related transactions Onyema through his companies entered into with his business partners in America whose businesses have not shown to have come under any criminal suspicion in America.
He, therefore, asked the court to make declaration that the federal government has no power to abridge the fundamental rights of Onyema to freedom of movement as enshrined under section 35 of the 1999 constitution
Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer of the biggest private airline in the country was said to have been indicted for fraud by the American government.
The American authorities were said to have been making efforts to apply for extradition of the business man to enable them put him on trial for the alleged fraud.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for hearing of the suit filed on November 25, 2019.
Meanwhile, Onyema has since denied the allegations against him and stated his readiness to travel to the US to defend himself.
Onyema said he is innocent of all charges and the US government will find no dirt on him because he has never conducted business with any illegalities.
The Air Peace boss said all the money transfer for the purchase of aircraft passed through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and were all used for the same purpose.