Members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Federal Capital Territory Council on Monday staged a peaceful protest in front of police force headquarters to prevail on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali to ensure the safe return of the Vanguard journalist, Tordue Salem, who has been missing since Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
The journalists, clad in black attire, held placards saying: ‘FreeTordeNow,’ ‘Journalism Is Not a Crime,’ ‘Free The Press,’ ‘Stop Attacking Journalists,’ among others.
The Chairman of the Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche who submitted a formal petition on behalf of the union called on the Inspector General of Police to step up intelligence and investigation into Salem’s disappearance and find out what happened.
He expressed disappointment at the way the police have been handling the matter, adding that there is a need for the police to give information on the whereabouts of the missing colleague since it was formally reported at the National Assembly police station.
He condemned the harsh condition under which journalists work, saying their safety can no longer be guaranteed despite their constitutional role and responsibility to uphold the fundamental objectives of the constitution.
The protesters were received by the Police Public Relations Officer, Frank MBA, who told the angry journalists that the investigation was in progress.
He said the police could not disclose their findings yet so as not to jeopardise their investigation.
He narrated the steps taken so far by the police on the matter and assured the protesters that the missing journalist would be found.
MBA said, “We are as concerned as journalists and members of the family. We have commenced an investigation and we have done everything humanly and technologically possible to ensure he is found. We have interrogated at least six persons and we have traced the places he visited after he left National Assembly.
“We have spoken with the last person he had an encounter with. We are imploring members of the family, public and journalists that this is an active investigation. We have a choice not to speak as not to jeopardize our investigation. This has explained our silence over time.”
Salem, who is a reporter with Vanguard Newspapers was the National Assembly
(House of Representatives) correspondent for the paper.
He was last seen on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, and his whereabouts have been unknown since then.