Day 12: Journalists Storm Police Headquarters Over Missing Colleague

Day 12: Journalists Storm Police Headquarters Over Missing Colleague

  • Journalists in Abuja in the numbers marched to the Force Headquarters in Abuja in protest of their missing colleague Tordue Salem
  • The journalists tasked the inspector general of police to expedite action in the search and rescue operation for Salem
  • The chairman of the FCT Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists demanded an immediate transfer of the case from FCT command to IGP's special unit

Abuja - Nigerian journalists on Monday, October 25, took to the streets of Abuja to protest the disappearance of their colleague, Tordue Henry Salem, who went missing on Wednesday, October 13.

Members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists led by the chairman of the Federal Capital Territory council, Emmanuel Obeche made a stop at the Force Headquarters Abuja to demand an expedite action for locating Salem.

Salem until his disappearance worked as a House of Representative correspondent with the Vanguard Newspaper.

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Tordue Salem
Tordue Salem has been missing since Wednesday, October 13. Photo: Tordue Salem
Source: Facebook

In a letter to the inspector general of police, Usman Baba Alkali, the journalists said they are optimistic that with adequate funding and deployment of up-to-date technology, the Police is well positioned to rise up the task of securing the nation.

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Obeche bringing the attention of the IGP to the disappearance of Salem said the journalist went missing on Wednesday, October 13, right in front of the Total Filing Station less than 100 meters from the Force Headquarters.

He said colleagues who cover the House of Representatives had also reported Salem's disappearance at the House of Reps Police division 48-hours after the incident.

Obeche said:

"This was followed by a petition to both your office and that of the Director General of the Department of State Security by his employers- Vanguard Media Ltd. This is outside calls by the leadership of the NUJ to senior officers of the Police."

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Stating that 12 days since the disappearance of Salem, nothing much has happened to indicate whether he is alive or dead; whether he is captive of the state, a non-state or an alien, Obeche said the Nigerian state owes every Nigerian, particularly a journalist, protection and assurance of safety.

He noted that Nigeria has continued to fare badly on the Press Freedom Index for six successive years and it will be most unfortunate if the disappearance of Salem adds to the poor rating.

Tordue Salem
The journalists called for a transfer of the case file from the FCT police command for IGP's special unit. Photo: Jide Oyekunle
Source: Facebook

In 2020, a report of Reporters Without Borders shows that Nigeria went five spots down the Press Freedom Index from 115 to 120 out of 180 countries, with the telling remark that Nigeria remains “one of West Africa's most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists.”

In addition, a June 2021 report of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and Media Foundation for West Africa revealed that the media industry recorded seven unresolved killings, 300 violations, affecting about 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses in Nigeria.

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Obeche said these numbers are an indication that the environment is unsafe and dangerous for every Nigerian, journalists inclusive.

In an effort to ensure the secured return of the missing journalist, Obeche called on the Police to transfer the case to a special unit of the IGP from the FCT Command of the Police.

He also demanded a confidential briefing with Salem's family, the leadership of the NUJ and his employers to calm frayed nerves while assuring total cooperation in the investigation of the matter.

Obeche said:

"Let us reiterate that for every journalist that is harassed, assaulted, disappears and murdered, the constitutional guarantee as contained in Chapter 22 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as Amended is threatened, democracy is weakened and good governance is impossible."
"The IGP it is for these reasons and more, that your office urgently needs to provide answer, which is locating and reuniting Mr. Tordue Henry Salem with his family."

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Meanwhile, previously reported that Police officers at the Lekki Toll Gate on Wednesday, October 20, assaulted a reporter covering the #EndSARS memorial.

The reporter, Abisola Alawode, a staff of was harrased, beaten up and subsequently arrested by the secuirty operatives at the venue of the #EndSARS memorial.

Abisola was however released after over six hours of his arrest by the police through intervention from colleague, lawyer and notable Nigerians across the country.


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