By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami SAN, has been sued over an alleged move to extradite the Chairman of Air Peace airline company, Mr Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyemar, to the United States of America (USA) for trial in an alleged fraud.
Recall that Onyemar, the 56-year-old founder of Nigerian carrier Air Peace has been accused by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia of moving money from Nigeria through U.S. bank accounts for the false purchase of aircraft.
In a news statement released by U.S. Attorney Byung Pak and carried by CNN , said “Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud. We will diligently protect the integrity (of) our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”
Onyema claims to be innocent of all charges against him
In a statement issued to local reporters in Atlanta CNN quotes Mr. Onyema as saying that he is “innocent of all charges and the US government will find no dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.”
However, in the fundamental human right suit, a rights activist Johnmary Jideobi is praying the court to stop the Federal Government from making any attempt to take Onyema to America on the request of the American government for whatever reason.
The Abuja based legal practitioner is also asking for an order of the court restraining any agency of government with prosecutorial powers as represented by AGF either by themselves, their servants, privies, assigns or any other person or authority acting under any concerts 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.
The rights enforcement suit before the Federal High Court Abuja, was filed by the human rights activist cum layer as a Concerned Nigerian Citizen.
In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/1446/2019, filed on November 25, 2019, the plaintiff 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 right of Onyema to freedom of movement as enshrined under section 35 of the 1999 constitution.
In the meantime, no judge has been assigned and no date has yet been fixed for hearing.