Amnesty Intl, MRA, IPC, others seek detailed probe into death of Vanguard reporter
Amnesty International Nigeria, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Vanguard Media Limited and International Press Centre (IPC) have called on the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the death of Vanguard journalist, Tordue Salem.
Salem was last seen on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, after the close of work at the National Assembly when a colleague dropped him off at a petroleum station adjacent to the Force headquarters. The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Vanguard Newspapers Limited immediately reported his disappearance to the police.
But last week, the police in Abuja paraded one suspected hit-and-run driver, Itoro Clement, whom they claimed killed Salem.
According to the Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, Clement, who was driving a Toyota Camry car with registration number BWR243BK, knocked down the reporter at maximum speed at a flyover between Mabushi and Wuse in the FCT and drove off after the accident.
The General Manager, Vanguard Media Limited, Gbenga Adefaye, told The Guardian that the police “need to do a lot more work.”
He said, “There are too many holes in the story they told. What is put in the public domain that he was killed is unsatisfactory.”
Similarly, Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said, “full investigation into what really happened needs to be conducted. There is no information provided until now, people would be curious.”
Ojigho added, “Can they verify the story that has been shared? The fact that he is a journalist brings to bear some of the concerns that have been raised lately in terms of how journalists are becoming endangered in the cause of their work.
“An investigation into what killed him and those who are involved will help in unraveling the mystery concerning his death. It is really a sad story. When it was announced that he was missing, everyone was worried, nobody knew the circumstances surrounding his disappearance. Now that his body has been found, it calls for full investigation,” Ojigho said.
While expressing concern over the continued insecurity bedeviling the country, Programmes Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Ayode Longe, said, “there should be an independent autopsy to unravel the cause of his death. I think it should not be accepted as hit and run.”
Executive Director IPC, Lanre Arogundade also noted, “This is another dark chapter in the history of journalism in Nigeria and we cannot but be very saddened by the death of yet another journalist. From trepidation over his fate after his mysterious disappearance, we have now moved to a state of shock, despair and mourning following the discovery of his dead body,” he said.
Arogundade described the situation as unfortunate, calling on the Nigeria Police and other intelligence agencies not to relent in thir efforts to find the killers of Salem or at least establish what could have killed him.
IPC also expressed its condolence to the family of the deceased journalist and the staff and management of Vanguard Newspapers.