The Police have arrested a commercial driver suspected to be responsible for the death of a Vanguard journalist, Tordue Salem.
The suspect, a 29-year-old commercial driver, Itoro Clement was paraded on Friday in Abuja.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba said 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 at about 10:00 pm on the night of 13th October 2021, around Mabushi area in Abuja but ran away.
While speaking to journalists during the parade, Clement Itoro admitted to have knocked off an unknown pedestrian at about 10:00 pm the same day Tordue Salem went missing.
He however said he did not stop to attend to his victim because he was afraid he could get attacked by armed robbers.
According to Clement, the Mabushi area where the accident took place is known for criminal activities, hence he was afraid he could be attacked.
“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.
“The place I knocked this person down, is a criminal place everybody knows that place,” he said.
The 29-year-old commercial driver further explained that after driving for some miles, he came across a Police Checkpoint and reported to the officers on duty that he had hit down someone. He said they told him to go to the Wuse Police Station to report himself, but he refused and went straight to Good Friends Garden where he normally parked his car, before proceeding home to his bed.
Salem’s body was found on Thursday, November 11, more than a month after he went missing.
An indigene of Benue State, Salem covers the House of Representatives and was last seen on October 13, 2021, a situation that led to protest and agitation by Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba explained to journalists how Clement Itoro was arrested.
He said the detectives from the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) began an investigation into the disappearance of Late Tordue which led them to trace his phone found at Good Friends Garden, Mpape in Abuja.
According to Mr Frank, “when Clement hit Tordue, the victim’s phone, an iPhone fell on the car’s wheel screen. The suspect however disposed of the phone at Good Friends Garden where he usually parked his car. But the phone was picked by some boys working in the garden and some parts of the phone were sold by the boys.”
He however said the boys also tried using the SIM cards for calls, which made it easy for the police to trace the phone.
The Police Spokesman said further investigations led to the eventual arrest of Clement.
He also disclosed that late Tordue’s corpse was found at about 11:30am on Thursday, 11 November 2021 at the Wuse General Hospital Morgue in Abuja.
He said during a search on the body a Keystone bank debit card, a Union Bank debit card, an ID Card issued by Vanguard Newspaper, an NUJ ID Card, and a temporary ID Card from the National Assembly Media Corp, all bearing the Late journalist’s name were found.
Journalists who attended the parade however expressed concern about the explanation concerning the incident.
They asked why the management of Wuse General Hospital (where Tordue’s body was found) did not report the incident for long since documents belonging to Late Tordue were on him.
They asked if the Police were going to include the hospital management in the prosecution.
In response, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba said that the Police will address issues of negligence on the part of the hospital management and even the policemen at the Wuse Checkpoint on the night of the accident after all the facts of the matter have been gathered.