…appeals to FG to thoroughly investigate matter
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, vowed to ensure that killers of former reporter of Vanguard Newspapers, Tordue Salem, are apprehended and prosecuted.
Gbajabiamila made the vow at the burial service for the deceased in Gaando, Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.
The management and staff of Vanguard Newspapers, led by the Abuja Bureau Chief, Mr. Emmanuel Ujah, also attended the event.
Salem, who was covering the activities of the House of Representatives, went missing on October 13, 2021, after the close of work at about 8 pm.
His sudden disappearance subsequently elicited concerns and reactions from Nigerians.
Members of the Nigerian Union Union of Journalists,NUJ, in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, at one point, staged a peaceful protest, urging the Police to find Salem.
Also miffed by the ugly development, both chambers of the National Assembly, Senate and the House of Representatives, on November 9, 2021, passed a resolution, mandating security agencies in the country to investigate the circumstances surrounding Salem’s disappearance and possibly find him.
On the heels of the resolution, the Police on November 12, 2021, 30 days after Salem’s disappearance, said they had found the body in the morgue of Wuse General Hospital, Abuja.
Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO, Mr. Frank Mba, who addressed journalists on the incident at the premises of Intelligence Response Team, IRT, in Abuja, said Salem was killed by a hit and run commercial driver, one Itoro Clement, around Mabushi/Wuse area of Abuja at about 10 pm on the day of his disappearance.
He said the driver took off immediately and never reported the accident to the Police.
Mba added that the Police were able to retrieve three identity cards and two Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards of two commercial banks when the body was searched.
The identity cards included those or Vanguard Newspapers, the National Assembly (House of Representatives) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ.
Speaking after Salem’s internment, Gbajabiamila who was represented by the member representing Gboko/Tarka Federal Constituency, John Dyegh, appealed to the federal government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to the journalist’s death.
He said the reports around his death have given rise to many unanswered questions.
Dyegh further called on government to take more drastic measures in curtailing the security challenge in the country, saying it has gone out of hand.
He said: “I am representing the Speaker at this burial and at the same time, representing Gboko Tarka, which happens to be the constituency of the deceased. It’s not an assignment that I would have loved to carry out. I like attending weddings, marriages and other engagements but certainly not burials. Burials, if I must attend, not for people of this age.
“The Speaker said he is going to use his office to make sure the culprits who may have committed this crime are brought to book. He is quite pained. He would have been here himself. He is out of the country as you are aware. He will be back on Sunday. He is going to use his office maximally to ensure justice is done.
“On my part, I will make a solemn appeal to our parents out there in this land and around to be with our children in prayers. You don’t send your child to Abuja to look for bread and he comes back this way particularly at his age. It is not right. It is my solemn prayer that our parents will back us up with prayers.
READ ALSO: Tordue Salem’s burial: ‘Killers’ of Vanguard’s reporter ‘ll never go unpunished — Gbajabiamila vows
“The insecurity in our country is really out of hand. The way this young man died pulls a lot of questions. A story says he was knocked down by a vehicle. Another one says he was macheted and that is after 28 days of missing. He was in the mortuary for over three weeks. You saw ID cards on him and death that was publicized on TV and radio. And nobody in the hospital could identify him. I mean, it doesn’t add up. Something is fishy somewhere. And it is our prayers that the federal government looks into this matter to take it seriously. This is not the first time and may not be the last and who knows who is next.”
Earlier in his sermon at St. Michael Catholic Church, Tsekucha, Gboko, the Parish Priest, Reverend Father Emmanuel Abur-Ngoigyor, asked those entrusted with the responsibility of protecting lives and property of Nigerians to be alive to their duties.
“We are asking that it is high time that people who are given the responsibility to look after our kit and kin stood up to their responsibility.
“The case in point is what we are celebrating today. Of course, we are celebrating his life, nobody is celebrating the death of Henry. We ought to be celebrating the life of Henry because he is teaching us a lesson.
“What we are saying is that eventually when the people realize that they do not have a voice, they will make up a voice for themselves and at that point, it will be a canister too big to handle,” he said.
Aged 42, Salem left behind his wife, Deve Salem, a 5-year-old daughter, Aavana, and sisters among other relatives.