The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, has urged the Police and other security agencies in the nation’s capital to do everything within their powers to locate a missing journalist.
Tordue Salem, a Vanguard Newspaper’s House of Representatives Reporter reportedly went missing on Oct. 13 in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
Ojukwu’s call is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Fatimah Mohammed, Deputy Director, Public Affairs in the Commission.
He expressed sadness over the news of the National Assembly Correspondent who has been missing for 15 days.
“There is no place for an enforced disappearance in modern history”, he said, describing the act as one of the worst human rights violations which leave the victims, family members and the society traumatized.
“It is needless for the family members of the journalist to go searching for him in hospital mortuaries and police stations if the security situation and intelligence gathering were better.
“NHRC stands for press freedom and will continue to advocate for same.
“A free press is important because people are able to express themselves in a constructive manner such that the views and concerns of ordinary people are also heard,” Ojukwu said.
He added that journalists serve as the watchdogs of any society and should be allowed to do their work without harassment and intimidation.
Ojukwu further said that the role of a journalist is crucial in a democratic society like ours.
He described Salem as a journalist who has a passion for his work.
“He has painstakingly reported human rights issues as well as educated the masses on their rights since his days with the Leadership Newspaper.
“Enforced disappearance is one of the hazards associated with the practice of journalism in Nigeria” Ojukwu added.
He, therefore, called on the authorities to respect the rights of journalists.
He also urged the journalists to always work within the ambit of the law and ethics of the profession.
He assured the family members of the Commission’s support to ensure that Tordue Salem is found and reunited with them.
Recall that the FCT Commissioner of Police, Babaji Sunday, on Monday assured that officers are looking for the journalist.
Sunday said the case was reported at the National Assembly Police Station and that he directed the immediate transmission to all Areas and Divisions.
“We are seriously on the matter. However, we have not received any information about kidnap or demand for ransom.
“My men have not received any information about any corpse on the road or abandoned corpse from the mortuary. We are searching,” the CP added.