December 11, 2021

Tordue Salem’s burial: ‘Killers’ of Vanguard’s reporter ‘ll never go unpunished — Gbajabiamila vows

Tordue Salem


…appeals to FG to thoroughly investigate the matter

…as Vanguard family pays last respect in Gboko 

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Saturday, has vowed to pull all strings within his office to ensure that the “killers” of former reporter of Vanguard Newspapers, Tordue Salem were apprehended and prosecuted.

This was in a bid to clear the persistent doubts about the circumstances leading to the death of the late Journalist.

Gbajabiamila made the vow at the burial service of 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 to commiserate with the family.

It will be recalled that Salem who was covering the activities of the House of Representatives got missing on October 13, 2021, after the close of work at about 8 pm.

His sudden disappearance subsequently elicited a flurry of concerns and reactions from a spectrum of Nigerians and corporate organizations including the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja and Civil Society Organizations, CSOs.

Recall that members of NUJ in the FCT council at a point staged a peaceful protest to the police headquarters, urging them to find Salem.

Also miffed by the ugly development, both chambers of the National Assembly, Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, passed a resolution on the matter, mandating the security agencies in the country to investigate the circumstances of Salem’s disappearance and possibly find him.

On the heels of the resolution, the Police authorities on November 12, 2021, 30 days after Salem’s disappearance said they have found the body in the morgue of Wuse General Hospital, Abuja.

The Force Public Relations Officer, FPRO Mr Frank Mba who addressed Journalists on the incident at the premises of Intelligence Response Team, IRT located in the former Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, headquarters in Abuja said Salem was killed by a hit and run commercial driver, one Itoro Clement, around Mabushi/Wuse area of Abuja metropolis 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 however able to retrieve 3 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, Speaker Gbajabiamila who was represented by the member representing Gboko/Tarka Federal constituency of the State at the House of Representatives, Hon. John Dyegh appealed to the federal government to thoroughly investigate the circumstances that led to the Journalist’s death with a view to apprehending those involved.

He said that the reports around his death have given rise to many unanswered questions.

He also called on the government to take more drastic measures in curtailing the insecurity challenge, 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 really 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’s going to use his office to make sure the culprits who may have committed this crime are brought to book. He’s quite pained. He would have been here himself. He’s out of the country as you are aware. He’s gonna be back on Sunday, that’s tomorrow.  His heart goes out and he says he’s gonna use his office maximally to make sure Justice is done and investigations are done properly to make everyone that is involved in this heinous crime are brought to book.

“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’s not right. It’s my solemn prayer that our parents will back us up with prayers so that we be bringing bread for them and not coming back in a casket to be buried. To me, it’s not very right and I think prayers will help us.

“Again, I call on the federal government. 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’s macheted and that is after 28 days of missing and you discover he was in the mortuary for over 3 weeks, staying in the mortuary. You saw ID cards on him and death that was publicized on TV and Radio, all sorts of media platforms 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. Otherwise, this is not the first time and may not be the last and who knows who’s next. So, serious appeal that the federal government will do something about this. The insecurity in our country is really, really getting out of hand.”

Earlier in his sermon during the committal service for the deceased 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 properties of Nigerians to be alive to their duties.

“We are asking that it high time people who are given the responsibility to look after our kit and kin and our wards stand up to their responsibility.

“The case in point is what we’re celebrating today, of course, we are celebrating his life, nobody is celebrating the death of Henry. We are ought to be celebrating the life of Henry because he is teaching us a lesson.

“So, 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. There will be signs that we will not be able to contain what is before us. Representation has failed us”, he said.

Aged 42, Salem left behind his wife, Deve Salem, a 5-year-old daughter, Aavana, sisters among whom are Elizabeth Kuraun.

Vanguard News Nigeria