Chief Onyema Allen (Chairman of Air Peace) Denies Political Motive For Intervention In Benue Herdsmen/Farmers Crisis
The Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Onyema Allen, yesterday refuted insinuations that he has a political ambition for his recent intervention in the herdsmen-farmers’ crisis in Benue State.
The philanthropist, who recently airlifted many stranded Nigerians from South Africa, noted that the action was driven by love for peaceful coexistence in the country.
He denied reports that the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Alhassan Saleh, apologised for the killings in Benue during a peace meeting he organised.
The Air peace boss had on Saturday facilitated a meeting between the Miyetti Allah and the Benue State Government.
Onyema explained that both Ortom and Hassan on behalf of Miyetti Allah pledged to maintain peace in order to finally put to an end the incessant killings in the state.
He said that it was at his instance that the reconciliation was made, adding that he had to make it clear that while Miyetti Allah pledged to ensure that the crisis between farmers and herdsmen in the state is put to an end, Ortom on behalf of the state government also pledged to do the same.
“The entire intention was for both parties to engage each other harmoniously and peacefully towards amicable solutions to the conflict. The reports that Miyetti Allah apologised for the killings in Benue as if Saleh Alhassan admitted that they were actually carried out by his group was unfair to the peace process and both parties. What he said is, ‘We are here because we want peace; we want to be able to sit down like brothers and discuss amicably, ways of ensuring peaceful co-existence between all ethnic nationalities. A lot have been said. We are not going to dwell in the past. Rightly or wrongly, if we have offended anyone in this state, we are sorry and, if we have felt offended by you, the Benue people, whether rightly or wrongly, we have equally forgiven. Let us all chart a new beginning. Let us all join hands together with the government and people of this state to flush out the criminal elements in our mist, on all sides”.
He pledged to work with the governor whom he described as a peace-loving governor.
The Chairman of FEHN and Air Peace also made it clear that he was not interested in politics and noted that what he is doing to reconcile the country and bring peace is not motivated by possible interest in politics, noting that he has been championing peace since he was in secondary school because he believes in peaceful existence of people, no matter the diversity, whether tribe or religion.
Onyema who spearheaded peace in the Niger Delta during the crisis, which led to the Amnesty Programme, said that he organised the reconciliation between the herders and Benue people because he believes that harmonious co-existence would end the crisis that has rocked the state for years, adding that there was the need to make a new commitment to entrench peace in the state.
He reiterated that he is not doing public good for pecuniary gains like going into politics, insisting that he is a businessman and he loves Nigeria so much that he would want peaceful co-existence of people from the different parts of the country.
Onyema noted that Nigeria has the potential to be a great country, adding that what it needs to achieve this is peace and committed leadership.
He recalled that this was what motivated him to go to the Niger Delta when militants had practically grounded the nation’s economy to a halt and started peaceful reconciliation, which paid off and gave rise to the Amnesty Programme