By Levinus Nwabughiogu, ABUJA
Journalism practice thrives on physical coverage of events. To achieve this, the establishment of beats becomes a sine qua non. So the beats can’t function without the constant physical presence journalists who cover and report the events.
This, then, informs why that there is a Press Centre in virtually every agency of government.
The National Assembly is one of these institutions of government. On daily basis, there is a beehive of activities that are almost, always journalistic in nature.
Both chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, have beats that house a huge number of journalists.
For the Green Chamber, there is a bulging and active press association called House of Representatives Press Corps, HoRPC.
The membership is over 80. It is made up of over 20 different newspapers, 50 radio and television stations and 10 notable online platforms, just to hazard a guess.
The members spend almost all their time on the beat, reporting events on daily basis. Sometimes, the weekends are no exceptions.
And so, overtime, they have come to develop some indelible and appreciable bond with an inclination that what affects one person, affects everyone.
Tordue Salem, the killed Vanguard’s reporter, was one of the active members of the Corps who shared and bonded with his colleagues.
And so, since the news of disappearance on October 13, the Corps has been in prayers.
Apart from individual prayers, there had also been a general devotion with the participation of everyone at the Center. The prayer was that God should graciously bring him back safely to rejoin them.
They had also petitioned the leadership of the House just as many appeals went out to the appropriate quarters. But as they prayers continued, anxiety and fear became very palpable.
Where is Tordue? Who is holding him? Is he still alive? This barrage of questions flurried rethorically, as everyone still hoped in God, the security agencies and the authorities in high places.
But their hope got dashed on Thursday night after 28 days when the news broke that the missing journalist was dead. Then, there emerged a stream of tears.
Even as many had thought it was an information mishap and expected a correction, the police authorities confirmed the news on Friday. And this tore and traumatized the Corps. What! Tordue Salem, the perfect gentlemen dead and gone? Killed by a hit-and-run commercial driver according to the police? They cried and wailed. But then, Tordue Salem, the Vanguard Newspapers Reporter and member of the HoRPC was gone. Just like that?
Amidst the well of tears, some friends and members of the Corps paid their tribute to Salem.
Below are the teary, emotional notes
Grace Ike, Silverbird Television and Chairman, House of Representatives Press Corps and Correspondent
“Tordue, I never imagined it will come to this, but here I am against my hopeful hope writing about you, Tordue Salem, in the past.
“I called you “Honourable” and it gladenned your heart each time I referred to you like that.
“When your “disappearance” was brought to my attention on that fateful October 13, I did not hesitate to inform the appropriate authorities.
“I was persuaded to believe that perhaps your phone had issues or could have been stolen.
“If only one had a crystal ball to have seen the horrible fate that awaited you maybe, this would have been averted.
“You were not just good at what you did, but fiercely loyal and passionate in what you believed in.
“Tordue, wherever you are, you must have seen the outpouring of grief which showed that your death should not be in vain.
“I knew how much you fought to ensure the House press corps moved to the next level.
“To this end, the House Press Corps under my leadership will continue to press the appropriate authorities that the only befitting closure to this macabre dream is to find out truly what befell you.
“As you have gone forth, may this be a turning point for the protection and safety of journalists in Nigeria. Fare thee well Tordue!”
“You were more than what people think- kele Peter Agbo, Editor, Leadership Newspapers.
“It’s hard for me to write a tribute on Tordue Henry Salem. He was a friend and brother. You could disagree with him on certain issues, but one thing anyone could not take away from him was his brilliance and intelligence.
“Many mistook his cerebral mind/ character for arrogance, but Tordue was beyond all of these, a lover of God and humanity.
“Even as we submit to the will of God Almighty, may Tordue’s spirit haunt his killers; it’s a task he must accomplish. May God comfort his family and repose his soul.”
Balarabe Alkassim, Correspondent, Daily Trust Newspapers
“I lost a good friend in Tordue and will always remember him as an upright and outspoken person who believed in what he stood for. Adieu Tordue. Missed you a lot.”
Hit-and-run is hard to believe — Femi, Correspondent, News Agency of Nigeria, NAN
“Dear Tordue, the news of your death was quite devastating and higly traumatic. I have been left almost insomnia, thinking it could be me.
“Though I had no personal relationship with you but the hi, good morning and the very day you directed me while attempting to park my car still lingers in my memory.
“A promising man you were, your baritone voice still rings a bell. Highly unassuming and cordial in manner.
“You left us without a good bye. May be it would have been easier if you had slept and yielded to death.
“But to claim you died by a hit-and-run car is only a story very difficult to believe.
“Oh, your killers will never know peace, they will die unsung, unmourn and unceremoniously, birds will feed on their carcasses.
“They will all cave in to a hit-and-run trailer as they made us believe with no help coming their way.
“Everyone that is complicit in your gruesome exit will be judged harshly by God. Rest on dear colleague.”
I was optimistic you would return — Dayo, Correspondent, This Day Newspapers
“I was very hopeful of your safe return. I was anxious to hear the full details of your mysterious disappearance from you
“I was optimistic that you will walk into the House of Representatives press centre like a giant that you were. I couldn’t wait to call you General Tordue as I used to call you.
“I was also waiting to hear you call my name with that bold and loud voice. I never knew I won’t see you again.
“It’s hard to say goodbye dear friend. Good night General Tordue. May God comfort your family.”
The table turned 2 day after NASS resolved to probe — Joke Adisa, Correspondent, Television Continental, TVC
“Dear Tordue Henry Salem, it is difficult to believe you are gone. Just like that.
“The peaceful protest we staged at the Police headquarters gave us hope of your safety and return.
“But how the table turned just two days after the National Assembly resolved to probe your mysterious disappearance remains a shock.
“God, the ultimate judge, will grant your soul rest and place your killers where they belong. Rest on the General as I will forever miss you.
“Madam Group’ is what you called me. I will NEVER forget you. Eternal rest the General.”
Police came up with unbelievable story — Samson Adebayo, ONTV News
“Dear Tordue Henry Salem, Chief Tordue like I always call you, I still find it difficult to believe you are no more.
“We protested at the Force headquarters and we were given strong assurance that you will return safe and sound.
“But to my greatest surprise, the police came up with an unbelievable story. No matter how long they cover up, the truth will surely come out some day.
“One thing I believe is that, God almighty will judge each and every one behind your killing. Rest on my guy as I will forever miss you.
“The strong man ‘ is what you always call me. I will NEVER forget you. Rest with the lord my man.”
You were a strong man — Sandra Michaels KFM Abuja
“The smart and courageous Tordue, words can’t express how bad I felt after hearing of your sudden disappearance turn gruesome murder.
“Tordue Henry Salem, you were a strong man and I admired your strength a lot. “Sandie” like u always call me will miss you.
“Iwill always pray for your soul to find peace in Jesus Christ. Amen
“Go well my friend and brilliant colleague, till we meet at Jesus’s Feet….ADIEU!!!”
You left a deep cut on me — Jonathan Lois, Authority Newspapers
“Dear Tordue Henry Salem, according to the book of this Scriptures, ECCL 3-1-4, HEB 9-27, 1 COR 15-54-56, 1 THES 4- 13-18, death is inevitable.
“We console ourselves, since we know you are resting in the bottom of of our Lord Jesus. The protest we staged at police headquarters give some of us hope that you will return to us alive.
“BUT THIS news of your demise come as a big shock to me on 11th of November by 10pm, because I was full of hope to see you once again.
“Words can express how I filled, a tree with noble seeds has fallen. Tordue what is this things that came to you so soon? Just like that? Unbelievable.
“It was a deep cut to me and my entire been that you have gone to the other side of the world, living your precious people behind.
“Well, He that created you knows the best. You lived a life of a noble and professional while on earth.
“The best home awaits you in heaven were your pains shall no more. You meant different things to different people that came in contact with you. Adieu Tordue”
How do I say goodbye?— Tony Akowe, The Newspapers
“Tordue, how do I say good bye? Everyday, since October 13, I come to the National Assembly hoping to see you walk in through the door gallantly.
“Daily, I looked forward to sharing your experience in the hands of those crude men. But that was not to be as they snuffed life of you, when you were just starting.
“Those you took away life from you gave murdered sleep. May they sleep no more. May the air they breadth be judgement against them.
“Ride on the wing of glory and continue to rest in the bossom of the Lord my brother. You may have left us here, we will meet in paradise to part no more. ADEIU son of man. ADEIU TORDUE the Great.”
Words fail me — Adebiyi Adedapo Leadership Newspapers
“Henry Tordue Salem, it’s still difficult to admit that you’re no more. The pain I feel knowing that you’re dead is nothing compared to the very hurtful circumstances surrounding your death.
“Words fail and my emotions betray me each time your thoughts come to mind.
“You were a brilliant, deep thinking, and intelligent journalist who interrogated issues purely from an objective and dispassionate perspective.
“Unfortunately, my hope and that of many others who waited to hear the news of your disappearance and your ordeal in the hands of those believed to have held you never came to pass.
“The stories about your death are still unbelievable but hopefully, the real reason why you had to die the way you died will be reconciled someday.
“May God the Almighty grant your family the fortitude to bear this huge loss. Adieu Tordue.”
We prayed for your safe return… — Udora Orizu, ThisDay Newspapers
“Dear Tordue, I still can’t believe you are gone. We were all praying for your safe return. All of us were waiting to hear your baritone voice again as you walk into the press corps.
“Great Tordue, as he was fondly called by many was an astute journalist who loved his career.
“Tordue was a straightforward and practical person who tackled the pressing issues of the day with impartiality.
“He loved Nigeria and cared deeply about what was happening in the country. The journalistic fraternity has lost one of its erudite soldiers.
“Good night Great Tordue. Youu will be greatly missed. May God comfort your family.”
May your killers never know people— Abdul Yusuf, Liberty TV.
“Tordue, till the moment I stepped into the press centre yesterday, I was expecting somebody to tell me it wasn’t your dead body but I was indeed wrong.
“The wicked and heartless sniffed life out of you. Not many knew we had a lot in common with you.
“I do have a lot of respect for you because you are indeed one of the most brilliant journalist I have met. You always stand by the truth.
“You don’t just talk because you want to talk but you back it up with facts. Great Tordue because that is what I always call and you will reply by saying, Tinubu campaign DG.
“Continue to rest in the bossom of the Almighty and may your killers never know peace.
I wished the news was fake — Opeyemi Saheed, ONTV News
“Chief Tordue’ as I fondly called you just like you used to call me ‘chief welfare’.
“It is unimaginable and shock that you have passed away just like that…How I wished the news about your death was fake or rumo.
“I recalled all your good gestures and those memorable moments at the House of Representatives Press Corps Media Centre. At times you would jokingly tell me to clear ‘gallery’.
“Your resonant voice, frank talk, smooth look, charismatic posture as well as immense positive contributions and commitment to the progress of the House of Representatives Press Corps will surely be missed bro.
“Though the circumstance that led to your death is still uncertain and disturbing, I will take solace in the fact that from God we come and to Him we shall all retur.
“I pray to Almighty God in His infinite mercy to give your family the fortitude to bear this painful loss and grant you eternal rest.”
If only I knew —Tom Okpe Oko, Daily Times Newspapers
“This is still unbelievable. Tordue! I remember that Wednesday, October 13 at the Press Center.
“You called me, Chief Okpe, I will follow you and I asked, how about your car?
“If I had known this evil was ahead of you, when you alighted at Area 11, between Force Hqtrs and the Total Filling Station, you gently called again, ‘Chief Okpe’ wishing us, James, Msuugh and myself goodnight in local dialect, we would have held you back.
“But how could we have known? Who are we to dictate for God, as His ways are not ours
“We as Christians, believe in the resurrection and know you will surely rise again when the dead in Christ shall rise.
“Only God will fight this battle for us, as we cannot fight it ourselves.
“God knows how to handle your killers, as they have taken all your sins upon themselves and that is why I say: Thank God, you died a great hero.
“Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord till that bright morning when the dead in Christ shall rise and we shall meet with our creator, God.
“Adieu, Strong man, Tordue.”
Why did you have to die? — Suleman Abdullahi, GoTV
“I sit around and wonder and watch the days go by. I look at all the pictures and ask why did you have to die Tordue?
“You’ve always been a wonderful person, because you were my best friend until the very end.
“But now it’s time to let you go. Your spirit now is free, even though you won’t really be gone, because you’ll live inside of my heart.
“So when we have to leave you at your resting place, I will always remember your smiling, beautiful face.
“This is hardly a goodbye, so I won’t weep anymore, because now you’re in better place than you ever were before.
“Even though I will miss you, and I’ll think about you every day, you’ll always be my best friend, and that’s all I have to say.
“You will be dearly missed. Rest in Peace Tordue”.
May God expose whoever is behind your death — Ahmed Salawu ITV
“Oga Tordue as I use to call you, the news of your death was shocked to me. You are such a great man who want the best for his colleagues.
“May Almighty God grant you eternal rest and console your family and friends. May God expose who so ever is behind your death. Rest in peace Mr Tordue Salem.”
You were a brother — Lois Akaahimbe NASS Corespondent Gotel News
“It is my honor to speak today about Tordue Salem. Although I wish I were talking at his retirement party or award ceremony instead of his funeral.
“A colleague, but more so a brother! You were concerned about my welfare as of others. Peaceful, thoughtful you were.
“Diligent and committed to duty. Comportment and charisma so endearing. It is not fair that you died in this manner.
“It is not fair that, your life was cut short at prime leaving you daughter fatherless.
“May justice be served and your killers punished. May your soul Rest with the Lord.”
I am yet to come to terms with this reality — Nicholas Kalu, The Nation Newspaper
“Dear Tordue Henry Salem, our eyes have been on the road, eagerly looking forward to your return.
“We prayed and prayed and hoped that very soon we would see you walk through the doors of the House of Representatives Press Corps and put the nightmare of your absence behind us.
“Sadly this was not to be. I am still yet to come to terms with this reality. It is a rude shock.
“Painful as it is, we still put our faith in God because He knows best. As the Scriptures tell us, in everything we must give thanks.
“In the brief moment we had, you proved to be an intelligent, bold and committed journalist. We will miss you dearly.
“So long, my friend. Rest in the bosom of the Lord, Tordue. May you get justice! Adieu!”
Your mysterious disappearance troubled me — Folashade omonisaye Raypower
“Mr. Tordue Henry salem, I only had the opportunity to speak to you once when we covered an assignment together, just a week before you went missing.
“Your voice is what keeps ringing in my head. But I won’t even lie you were so noticeable, especially your carriage and the way you walked.
“Your mysterious disappearance was one that troubled me even though I didn’t have a personal relationship with you (who wouldn’t be) and now the news of your unjust murder!!
“Who are we to question God even though we have so many questions still unanswere.
“May your soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.”
I never knew life will be this short — Abayomi Fayase, The Nation Newspapers
Tordue, you were a friend who knew your boundaries. You are a courageous, brilliant, lively and understanding brother.
“We have disagreed on issues despite all, you apologised and we moved on. I never knew it will be short.
“It has reminded me that we shall all taste this in a different way. I cherish our times together. I cherish your forthrightness. I cherish our outings and above all, I cherish our stand on what we believe. Sail on brother.”
I lack words — Lami, Nigeria Television Authority, NTA
“I lack words to express how I feel about the way you left us all. But I believe a special place has been reserved for you in heaven. Sleep on Tordue”.
We tried to bring you back… my Today, Today my friend (Tordue Salem) — Christiana Ekpa, Peoples Daily Newspapers
“One of the most calm men that understands me so well even when it clearly showed that I was looking for your trouble.
“You still understood and smiled and that brought me closer to your calm and gentle personality.
“I was going to tell you the reason I love to called you “Today” but it ended this way. I love the emphasis and the way you stressed your name TORDUE and I want to hear that over and over again, that is why I called you Today just to force you to pronounced your name again and again.
“You noticed the way I laughed each time you said “my name is not Today, my name is TORD-UE this Igala girl, I am a King”.
“You always went further, this Igala girl you no hear word ba? The truth is that I can’t say RIP or good night because you were not allowed to fullfil what you believed in.
“The chairman, the Exco and the entire Corps did all we could to bring you back to your family, especially your daughter, sisters but our best wasn’t good enough, perhaps.
“We will find justice for your daughter by God Grace. Those who killed you this way will not go unpunished.”
You stood for professionalism — Terry Ikumi, Channel TV.
“Dear tordue, it saddens me that you will never get to read this but say it I must; at least for your 5 year old daughter to know what kind of man her father was.
“As a colleague in the House of Representatives, you stood for outright professionalism. Your name was never mentioned among ills.
“I looked forward to your stories to see what I may have missed. Quiet and easy going Tordue, thank you for the moments of peace you shared with us while you were here.
“Thank you specifically for the mutual respect we both shared. We will all leave this world someday, but this is not the way to go. Society failed you. Rest on.”
You were thoroughbred Journalist — Kehinde, Nigerian Tribune
“Never do I expect that the story about the mysterious disappearance of my ‘Never say die’ Tordue will end with the fabricated narrations!
“I was fooled to believe that you are safe barely 29 days of expectations to see your charming face again.
“You were a thoroughbred journalist, who never give up and carved as niche for yourself during the brief but extensively memorial decade of practice to see a better Nigeria and your Fatherland and most importantly the good people of Nigeria at large.
“Your passion for good governance, effective and credible electoral system, quality of life and wellbeing of fellow citizens were never negotiable!
“Tordue, you shall never be seen physically here on earth but his generation will carry on! God will preserve all that you left behind. Adieu Tordue Henry Salem!!!”
You were never afraid to speak out — Charity Marcus, ITV
“Tordue Salem, words cannot express how your death has come as rude shock to me.
“All the time your were missing I never thought it will come to this.
“Somehow I believed you will come back to tell your story. You were a man who was never afraid to speak about what you believe in.
“One of the few people that will always say things the way they are. It is indeed sad that you have to go this way.
“I pray your soul finds eternal rest. As for your killers, God will definitely take care of them in his own time. Rest in peace dear Tordue.
You were wonderful — Oladele OJO, Galaxy TV
“Dear Tordue, you a wonderful man, who wanted the highest standards for journalism; a profession you held in esteem.
“I used to call you with base voice Torfueeeee, and you will smile and respond back and say great Dele.
“Who are we to question God almighty?
“May God give your family the fortitude to bear this loss. We will all miss you.
“Goodnight brother and rest in peace.”