Molly Kilete, Abuja
Controversy has trailed the parade by the police force headquarters in Abuja of a hit and run driver Itoro Clement, said to have been responsible for the death of the missing Vanguard journalist, Tordue, Salem.
Late Salem An indigene of Benue State, who was covering the House of Representatives, went missing on October 13, 2021. His disappearance caused a stir amongst journalists in Abuja who reported the matter to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), police command and embarked on a peaceful protest to the police force headquarters to demand for his unconditional release by his captors.
Force public relations officer Frank Mba, who attended to the protesting journalists, had assured that the police was doing everything in its powers to unravel the circumstances surrounding his sudden disappearance and making progress in its investigation.
To convince the journalists that the police was not sweeping the matter under the carpet, Mba, had said that “investigation so far our by the police showed that After the close of work that day, the deceased 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.
However late Thursday night, Vanguard newspapers where the deceased worked before his untimely death reported that his body had been found.
Confirming the incident, the force public relations officer Frank Mba, at a media briefing in Abuja, paraded the suspected killer driver Itoro Clement, 29, before journalists.
At the briefing, Mba, told journalists that Clement was arrested following an investigation carried out by the Force Intelligence Bureau.
He said Clement who was driving a 2004 Model Camry with number plate BWR 243 BK confessed to having hit Tordue about 10:00 pm on the night of 13th October 2021, around Mabushi area in Abuja but ran away.
Mba, said that men of the Inspector General of Police-Intelligence Response Team, headed by Olatunji Disu, finally traced the corpse of the reporter to the morgue of the Wuse General Hospital where it was identified by the deceased family. He said Three identity cards comprising that of the Natiional Assembly, Nigerian Union of Journalists and Vanguard Newspaper along with two ATM cards were found on the body of the deceased.
Speaking on the incident, the driver told journalists that he ran away from the scene on the day of the incident as he had earlier been attacked by bandits on the same spot.
The driver, during interrogation, said, “I thought it was an armed robber that I knocked down until the following day when I saw a smashed phone on my windscreen. The phone was not working again so I threw it away.”
Explaining why he did not wait after the accident; Clement claimed that the area where the incident occurred is notorious for criminal activities in the FCT.
“The place I knocked this person down, is a criminal place; everybody knows that place,” he said.
Salem’s body was found on Thursday, November 11, more than a month after he went missing.
The parade of the suspect by the police have continued to generate suspicion amongst journalists who are demanding for further investigation to arrest the perpetrators of the barbaric act.