The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has asked the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to unravel the circumstances behind the death of Vanguard Newspaper reporter, Tordue Henry Salem.
Tordue, who was last seen on October 13, 2021, was reportedly found dead in Abuja in the late hours of Thursday, November 11, 2021 after allegedly being knocked down by a hit-and-run driver.
Before the incident, the indigene of Benue State was a reporter with Vanguard Newspaper covering the House of Representatives.
Reacting to the development, Senator Omo-Agege expressed regret over the incident and emphasised the need for conclusive investigations to unmask those involved in Tordue’s death.
A statement issued by his media adviser, Yomi Odunuga yesterday quoted Omo-Agege as saying that the parade of Itoro Clement – a commercial driver who allegedly knocked down and killed the journalist raised further questions on the circumstances leading to the death.
He noted that providing the missing puzzle was the only way to bring closure on the matter, adding that anything short of this would add to the list of unresolved murders of journalists carrying out their constitutional duties.
“I am particularly worried that this is happening at the heart of the FCT. Reports abound of kidnappings and other security breaches in the nation’s capital.
“While we await further briefing from the police on who deposited Tordue’s corpse in the morgue and when it was deposited, the sad development has added to the list of unresolved killings of journalists like Dele Giwa, founding editor-in-chief of Newswatch magazine; Godwin Agbroko of ThisDay; Bagauda Kaltho of (The News); Bayo Ohu (The Guardian); Edo Sule Ugbagwu (The Nation) and Abayomi Ogundeji (ThisDay) who were all murdered in the course of discharging their constitutional duties.
“I extend my condolences to the family, friends and associates of the deceased, the government and people of Benue State, the Vanguard family, House of Representatives Press Corps, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and pray God to give them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss,” Omo-Agege stated.
Police said yesterday that Tordue was killed by a ‘Hit and Run’ driver, Itoro Clement.
Parading the suspect in Abuja, Force PRO, CP Frank Mba, said he killed Tordue along Mabushi-Wuse express way around 10pm on October 13, 2021.
He said the driver failed to report the case to the police and went home where he packed his car in a garage at Mpape.
The Force PRO said the police were able to resolve the case after tracking Tordue’s phone to the garage in Mpape, which led to the arrest of the suspect after he was identified as the owner of the car.
He said police investigators were able to track and identify the body of Tordue’s body in Wuse General Hospital around 11:30am on Thursday.
Explaining what happened, Itoro said he was driving across the said expressway when he hit Tordue and ran away for fear of being mobbed and armed robbery attack.
“I ran into people running across the street and believing that they were robbers, I became afraid after hitting the victim.
“I didn’t know he was a journalist as that area is notorious for armed robbery. I saw the phone stuck in my car after I packed in Mpape and threw it away. Children picked the phone and used it to make calls and that was how I was caught,” he said.
After the close of work that day, Tordue was said to have alighted from a cab at Total Filling Station, close to the Force Headquarters, and headed for B.J’s garden in the company of a female relative. He was never seen after that.