The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Usman Alkali, has assured the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the general public that the police are making progress in its efforts to unravel the sudden disappearance of a Vanguard Newspaper reporter, Tordue Henry Salem. He gave the assurance while addressing members of the NUJ, FCT Council, who carried out a peaceful march to his office on Monday in Abuja registering their grievance over the silence of the police on the matter, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Alkali, who was represented by Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, disclosed that Salem’s case was already with the police.
He noted that the case was officially reported to the National Assembly Police Station on October 15.
He said investigations carried out by the police revealed that Salem slept at his sister’s house somewhere around Life Camp on October 12, and by the following morning, the missing journalist took a Bolt Taxi to National Assembly, where he worked for Vanguard.
“After the close of work, he was last seen at the National Assembly between 4pm and 5pm on October 13, and thereafter his colleagues never saw him again.
“On October 15, the matter was formally reported at the National Assembly’s Police Station. The attention of the FCT Commissioner of Police and IG were drawn to the case. The IGP gave a firm instruction that all materials and human resources should be deployed at locating and understanding the rationale behind Salem’s disappearance. “As I speak to you, we have made significant process in the investigation.
“However, I am glad that the Chairman of NUJ, FCT Council, understood the significance of confidential briefing and because of that request, I would rather do more of confidential briefing.
“But, we were able to trace when he left the National Assembly. We were able to interact with a young lady who spent time with him that night.
“We have the recordings of the last call he made. Also, we were able to speak with six different persons he spoke to that night. So, there are a lot of efforts behind the scene taking place. The police intentionally kept quiet on the case. “We call it ‘Technical Silence’, because, we want to get to a comfortable altitude before we talk to the public,” Alkali said.
He, however said, the police had kept quiet because the suspects or whoever had a hand in the issue were still out there, adding that the police would not want to provide too much for the suspects to know how much or how far the police had gone. “So, I just want to give a strong assurance that everything, humanly and operationally possible, would be done to solve this case. We see the media as an integral part of what we do. We appreciate Journalists’ collaboration and support.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of NUJ, FCT Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, submitted a petition to Alkali signed by himself and the Secretary of Council, Ochiaka Ugwu.
The petition is titled “Demand to expedite action for the locating of Mr Tordue Henry Salem, Journalist and Correspondent with the Vanguard Newspaper Who Has Been Missing for 12 Days”.
Ogbeche said the FCT Council was optimistic that with adequate funding, up-to-date deployment of technology, well-motivated personnel and proper synergy, the Nigeria Police Force would be positioned to rise to the task of securing our country alongside other security agencies.