The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has applauded the indictment of Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema, in a $21m fraud by the United States of America.
Onyema was indicted by a federal grand jury in the US on November 19 on multiple charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering and faces a jail term of 105 years if found guilty.
MEND posited that the Niger Delta amnesty program was built on a fraudulent foundation from inception, starting with the grossly exaggerated figure of militants put at 30,000, a figure that was a key element in perpetuating the fraud, which has continued up until this day.
The group stated that Onyema heavily benefitted from the amnesty program along with a host of others, who were aware of the fraud.
The group said, “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 2,000 and the excess figure of 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?”
MEND also condemned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for not investigating Onyema and waiting for the US to do its work.
“It is a shame and indictment on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission that they had to wait until Allen Onyema, a greedy conflict entrepreneur was exposed by the FBI before speaking out.
“Air Peace and every known asset belonging to Onyema and the fixed assets of every known person involved in duping the Niger Delta region through the amnesty fraud have become legitimate targets for attack.”