The Department of State Service (DSS) has denied having a hand in the disappearance and death of Vanguard journalist, Tordue Salam.
The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, made the clarification at a one-day seminar organised by the security agency in conjunction with the FCT Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja yesterday.
Afunanya made it clear that the DSS did not arrest, detain or have anything to do with Tordue, who was reported missing since October 13, 2021 before the police claimed the discovery of his body at the Wuse General Hospital on Friday.
Afunanya’s reaction followed a motion at the instance of a senator from Benue State, Emmanuel Orker-Jev, that security agencies should be pressed to produce the missing journalist who was one of his constituents before his death.
“The Department of State Service did not arrest, detain or have a hand in Tordue’s death, Afunanya said. “Moreso, Tordue was not covering or related in any way to any security institution or beat and had not done anything to attract any security attention.
“The DSS being a responsible organisation does not embark on indiscriminate and secret arrest and detention or killing of anybody and could therefore not have arrested or detained the dead journalist. Whenever we have justifiable reason to arrest or detain anyone, we always make it public and give reasons for such action in accordance with the rules of our engagement”.
At the seminar, the FCT Chairman of the NUJ, Emmanuel Ogbeche, called for greater cooperation between the media and security agencies to ensure balance, truthful and unbiased reporting and sharing of information that can engender national unity, peace and development.
Also speaking on the theme, ‘Media and Security Relations: Challenges and Prospects’, the Northern Region Editor of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Soni Daniel, made a strong case for journalists to beware of elements out to exploit their strategic roles to foment trouble and truncate the progress so far made by Nigeria and draw the nation and its people backwards.
Daniel called for greater understanding, collaboration and trust between security agencies and the media in tackling insecurity in the country rather than see themselves as competitors trying to outwit the other in the discharge of their roles.
During the event, a one-minute silence was observed for Tordue Salem, and all other journalists who were slain in the course of their duties.