Air Peace Owner Onyema Used Niger Delta Amnesty Funds to Setup Airline Company - Diepreye Dikibo (2014 Flashback)

How Air Peace Founder Onyema Used Niger Delta Amnesty Funds to Setup Airline Company – Diepreye Dikibo (2014 Flashback)

Last updated on December 19th, 2023 at 03:38 pm


In 2014, the spokesman of ex-Militant Leaders Forum in the Niger Delta, Diepreye Dikibo, accused the founder of Air Peace Chief Allen Onyema of using several billions of naira meant for Niger Amnesty Programme to set up the airline.

Onyema used Niger Delta Amnesty Funds to Setup Air Peace2

The ex-militants further alleged that Chief Kingsley Kuku, a former adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, was involved in the illegal diversion of the Amnesty funds for private use.


No one took the statements of the ex-militants seriously, the ruling party at the time the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed it was politically motivated and nothing was done about it.

Diepreye Dikibo also alleged in his statement in 2014 that Kuku and Onyema perpetrated several financial sin, accusing them of inflating contracts.

How Onyema was involved in projects during PDP regime

  • Kuku and Onyema were allies.
  • Kuku was the coordinator of the Amnesty project
  • Onyema was a consultant to Nigeria’s Amnesty programme.

Years after ex-Militant Leaders Forum allegation

Five years after Onyema and Kuku were accused of financial fraud, the United States Government on Friday, November 22, 2019 released a statement that it has discovered how Air Peace founder Allen Onyema perpetrated illicit transfer of money running into several millions of US dollars.

The offence is against the laws of the US. It is a money laundering offence that is punishable.

The US authorities, issued warrant for Onyema’s arrest, saying Onyema used several fraudulent letters of credit to American banks and initiated wire transfers to the tune of $44.9 million between 2010 and 2018.

The funds were reportedly transferred from the Nigerian bank accounts of organisations founded by Onyema.

According to the US statement, the Air Peace founder diverted the fund to establish other firms, they include:

  • Foundation for Ethnic Harmony,
  • International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development,
  • All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited
  • Every Child Limited

US Department of Justice said, “Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, the Chairman, CEO, and founder of Air Peace, a Nigerian airline, has been 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 international airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.”

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What Allen Onyema said about the US’ indictment

The Nigerian businessman denied the allegation. Chief Onyema said he is innocent and ready to clear his name.

Onyema said,:

“I am innocent of all charges and the US government will find no dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.

“Be rest assured that I also have my lawyers on this and these mere allegations will be refuted.

“I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world. Every Kobo I transferred to the US for aircraft purchase went through the Central Bank of Nigeria LC regime and all were used for the same purpose.

“The American companies that received the funds are still in business. I never took a penny from any US bank or Nigerian bank. I am willing to defend my innocence in the US courts.”

Diepreye Dikibo of ex-Militant Leaders Forum made a similar allegation in 2014

Five years ago, precisely in 2014, Diepreye Dikibo, spokesman of the ex-Militant Leaders Forum in the Niger Delta, alleged that Onyema and Kingsley Kuku, a former adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, used funds meant for the amnesty programme to establish Air Peace.

Full statement of Diepreye Dikibo accusing Onyema and Kuku in 2014 of financial fraud

Initially, there were rumours that Air Peace, a new Airline whose aircraft have recently been cited at Lagos Airports belong to the First Lady Patience Faka Jonathan.

That is all not true. We believe at this moment, that those who churned out the story that the Airlines belonged to the First Lady did so deliberately to hide the truth and to mislead the people.

The truth did not take too long to come out. Business concerns owned by Allen Onyema, a Lagos based businessman, colleague and close confidant of the Special adviser to the President on Niger Delta & Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme Kingsley Kuku have not been confirmed as responsible for the Airlines and more to that, Allen Onyema has now publicly confirmed that he is the Chairman of the Air Peace Airlines.

Allen Onyeama’s business outfit handled the demobilization and orientation of former Niger Delta militants which cost billions of Naira to run.

Allen Onyema has also been responsible for high-valued training contracts (running into billions) in the areas of welding training as well as aviation training for the Presidential Amnesty Programme in countries such as South Africa, The United States and Dubai.

Kingsley Kuku, Allen Onyema with House of Reps Committee Members on the Niger Delta visiting Proclad Academy, Dubai (Where Allen Onyema’s business outfit ICNPD) is training Niger Delta youths in Welding for millions of dollars.

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Kingsley Kuku, Allen Onyema with House of Reps Committee Members on the Niger Delta visiting Proclad Academy, Dubai (Where Allen Onyema’s business outfit ICNPD) is training Niger Delta youths in Welding for millions of dollars.

The appointment of Kingsley Kuku as SA, Niger Delta & Chairman of the Amnesty Programme in January 2011, was a huge blessing for Allen Onyema as it gives him automatic access to a monster chunk of the more sixty billion naira allocated to the amnesty programme yearly.

Two of Allen Onyeama’s NGOs which also double as business outfits are known to be the biggest beneficiary of large value Presidential Amnesty Contracts and we can confirm that none of these outfits has any ties to the First Lady Patience Jonathan.

They include the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN) and the International Center for Non-violence & Peace Development (ICNPD).

All the contracts awarded to Allen Onyema and his business run into millions of dollars and are all grossly inflated and overvalued in a manner designed to short change the Amnesty Programme and steal the billions of naira yearly allocated to the manage the amnesty program me in the Niger Delta.

Sources close to Kingsley Kuku and Allen Onyeama say that Kingsley Kuku’s fears that the President might not return in 2015 and the need to settle his future spurred Kuku and Onyeama to start the Airlines on time rather than wait for the Presidential election in 2015.

Over time, Ex-militant leaders in the Niger Delta had spoken up about the rot in the Presidential Amnesty Programme but were not listened to.

Rather, a band of lesser-known and less credible leaders are being patronized by the Amnesty Programme and paid to issue press releases that threaten mayhem to Nigerians if President Jonathan is not elected in 2015 as though it was their votes that brought him to power in 2011.

As a group of committed leaders of the Niger Delta, we have over time-resolved to work with all Nigerians for the success of President Jonathan in carrying out his responsibilities as a son of the Niger Delta, President of Nigeria and a father to all Nigerians. The journey to success in 2015 will be done in collaboration with all well-meaning Nigerians because we believe, like many other Nigerians, that President Jonathan means well.

In the times past, we spoke about the false records of militants that the Amnesty Office parades but we were ignored.

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We exposed the faulty award of scholarships to so-called Niger Deltans and we were again ignored even when we made it clear that Kingsley Kuku had been awarding scholarships to girlfriends, children of girlfriends and many others who had no business with the Niger Delta and that scholarship award.

Novena University is one of the Universities used by the Presidential amnesty Programme to train program recipients YET the children of the owner of Novena University are also included in Amnesty Programme.

A scion of a former political rival to President Jonathan, Timi Alaibe, Kingsley Kuku was not the first choice for the position of Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta & Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme.

The first choice candidate had been Dr Felix Tuodolor, an Ijaw intellectual and highly cerebral first President of the Ijaw Youth Council.

Felix Tuodolor was upstaged because there was a believe in certain Ijaw and Niger Delta quarters that he will not ‘SHARE’ money for the boys.

Kingsley Kuku it is, who likes to brag that he has the Chief of Army Staff in his pocket and that he settles the President’s wife very regularly. Quite sordid.

In January 2013, It was Allen Onyema who paid tens of thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign support group to enable Onyema and Kingsley Kuku to enjoy a photo-shot with President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives.

Clearly, It would therefore not be difficult to start an airline with such heavy financial support.

Question is, will Kuku and his Air Peace Airlines recruit all the Pilots they say that Amnesty has trained? Or will they allow the poor fellows to go out there themselves and make bread for their families?

Our collected call to the President is that Kingsley Kuku be immediately removed as SA to the President on Niger Delta & Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme. A reject a thief lording over the collective destiny of the Niger Delta and we call on the President to do the needful as a matter of urgency.

Kingsley Kuku’s loyalty is clearly not to the President but to his pockets and to his former lords.

A word has always been good enough for the wise.

IF our call is not heeded, we will announce a withdrawal of our support for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the 2015 elections. We have suffered enough.

What some groups are saying about Onyema trial

Some ethnic groups in the region said the trial was politically motivated.

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