Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), an umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South East geopolitical zone has expressed shock at the sudden disappearance of Tordue Salem, a Vanguard Newspaper reporter that covers the House of Representatives.
Salem was last seen on Wednesday last week, October 13, and since then, he has neither been seen nor heard from, a development that has generated tension among journalists and Nigerians.
In a statement which was signed by the president general of the coalition, Hon Goodluck Egwu Ibem, the group described the disappearance of the correspondent as unacceptable and demanded that he should be produced within seven days.
The statement reads: “This kind of story is totally unacceptable to us and we demand that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba and other security agencies must find Tordue Salem and hand him over to his family within the next 7 working days.
“These seven days ultimatum given by us to the IGP and other security agencies to find Salam is not negotiable. The IGP must prove his mettle by bringing back Salem to his family. No form of excuse will be entertained. The IGP and other security agencies must find Salem immediately.
“The duties of journalists in our society cannot be overemphasized. Journalists ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
“Any form of attack on any journalist is an attack on the entire society. They are the backbone of our democracy and any attack on them is an attack against all Nigerians and non-Nigerians.
“Without any equivocation, which states that we will not tolerate any form of intimidation, harassment against journalists in Nigeria.
“The federal government, the state governments and all security agencies must ensure the safety of journalists in the discharge of their legitimate duties. We don’t want to hear that a journalist is missing next time.
“All Nigerians must ensure that no harm no matter how little befalls a journalist. They are the hope and only channel through which the people can be updated about what is happening in our society.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari who is the commander-in-chief of the Armed forces, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to activate the machinery to ensure the safe return of Tordue Salem.
“If we don’t see Tordue Salem after seven working days, we will stage a one-million-man protest until we see Tordue Salem return safely to his family. The time has started counting,” he said.