NUJ to IGP: We demand an expedite action in locating our missing colleague, Mr.Tordue Henry Salem after 12 days of missing

Members and Executives of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) FCT Council today in a march protest, in Abuja demanded from the Nigeria Police Force led by Usman Baba Alkali an expedite action in locating their colleague, Mr. Tordue Henry Salem, a journalist with the Vanguard Newspapers who went missing on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 right in front of the Total Filing Station less than a 100 meters from the Force Headquarters.

This is contained in a protest letter written and signed by the council’s Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Ogbece and Secretary, Mr. Ochiaka Ugwu respectively.

According to them, the Council is optimistic that with adequate funding, up-to-date deployment of technology, a well-motivated personnel and proper synergy, the Nigeria Police Force under your command will be positioned to rise up the task of securing our country alongside other security agencies.
“The IGP, Sir, as you are aware, a colleague of ours and a journalist of note, Mr. Tordue Henry Salem of the Vanguard Newspapers went missing on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 right in front of the Total Filing Station less than a 100 meters from the Force Headquarters.

“48 hours after fellow colleagues who cover the House of Representatives realized he had DISAPPEARED, a report was immediately incidented at the House of Reps Police Division. 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.

The Council further noted, “It is regrettable to note that 12 days after Mr. Tordue Henry Salem DISAPPEARED, 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.

” The IGP, it is relevant that we remind you that the State owes every Nigerian, particularly a journalist, protection and assurance of safety. Nigeria has continued to fare badly on the Press Freedom Index for six successive years and it will be most unfortunate if the DISAPPEARNCE of Mr. Tordue Henry Salem adds to the poor rating. 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.”

They also demanded that adequate protection be offered to journalists going forward and that the culture of harassment, intimidation, brutalization and disappearances ends.
“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.

“What all these underscore is that the prevailing environment is unsafe, suffocating and dangerous not just for journalists and other media workers but for the sustenance of democracy itself.
“Our demand is reinforced by the fact that as we approach 2023, a General Elections year in Nigeria, the political and economic elites become more desperate to hang on to power and because they will not want to be held accountable to the Nigerian people, the media becomes their major target. This culture of impunity should and must be arrested by the Nigeria Police as the primary security agencies as well as other sister agencies.

“Regarding Mr. Tordue Henry Salem, we demand that the case be transferred to a Special Unit of the IGP. While we appreciate the efforts of the FCT Command, the magnitude of the disappearance demands for a highly tactical, focused and coordinated Unit under the Office of the IGP.

We further demand confidential briefing with his family, leadership of the Union and his employers to calm frayed nerves, while we assure of our cooperation in the investigation.

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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