The Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Council and the Coalition of Non- Governmental Organisations led by the Human Right Writers Association (HURIWA), have accused the Security agencies of culpability in the disappearance of Mr. Tordue Salem a political reporter with the Vanguard Newspaper.
Chairman of the Council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche and Emmanuel Onwubiko of (HURIWA) spoke at a joint press conference held in Abuja over the disappearance of the political reporter.
Salem was reported missing a week ago by his family as he did not return home on Wednesday and his office could not tell of his where about the next day as he did not show up for work.
Ogbeche maintained that issues around the missing journalist do not point to a kidnap by any bandit as they have not reached the family since he was declared missing a week ago.
He noted that, it was a bad development for the profession and the government human right records.
He threatened that if the journalist is not released the Union will embark on a protest match to the office of the IGP to demand his release.
“This is not a case of kidnapping. The Council will remain convinced that if it were the kidnappers they would have made contact with his family or his employers which have not been the case.
“When Mr. Tordue Salem, was declared missing by her colleagues, we quickly informed the police, as well as the Department of State security.”
But as we speak, they have not reached out to us. There is no concrete reason to believe that they are making efforts to find out where he was whisked and kept.
“For this, we believe that the security agencies are culpable in his disappearance.
Comrade Ogbeche said “the mother of all protest will come if the government refused to act on the digital foot prints of this age to find the journalist.
“We are giving them 24 hours to come up with concrete explanations. When that is not done, we will be forced to go to the Inspector General of police to make a public demand.
“You understand? So that the whole world will witness that a journalist went missing and the Nigerian government has failed in its responsibility to ensure this constitutional guarantee, to protect its citizens.
He urged journalists to take issues of physical and online security, very seriously.
Emmanuel Onwubiko, Human Rights Writers Association, while expressing the support of the civil society coalition said, “We totally support what our chairman has said. They are very factual that they’re accurate.”
He noted that many missing persons were later reported by victims of human right abuses who got freed and mentioned that they shared cell with such persons during their incarceration.
He called on the government to allow a team of civil society organisations to visit cells on defined intervals to mitigate situations of missing persons held by the state.
“Even the International community has even written a booklet on the cases of forced disappearances.
“A lot of people will just go missing and at the end of the day, the only way you find out that such person is in the custody of the security agencies is that, if somebody somewhere manages to come out of those detention facilities, the person will now inform the parents or go to the media.
“We totally believe that this guy was made to disappear by person, either working for the state or persons working directly for the government.
“That is why we have consistently advocated the practice of either weekly or monthly visitation to detention camps all over the country.”