The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu has called on the Nigerian Police and other law enforcement agencies to do everything within their powers to locate a missing journalist, Tordue Salem.
Salem a journalist with Vanguard Newspapers reportedly went missing on the 13th of October, 2021 in the Federal Capital Territory , Abuja.
A statement on Tuesday, 26 October, 2021 by the Deputy Director, NHRC, Fatimah Mohammed said Ojukwu expressed sadness over the news of the National Assembly Correspondent of the Vanguard Newspapers who has been missing for the past 14 days.
Ojukwu, who said there is no place for enforced disappearance in modern history, described the act as one of the worst human rights violations which leave the victims, family members and the society traumatized.
The Executive Secretary said there is a need to do more in providing adequate security for everyone living in Nigeria, saying it was 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 was better.
The chief human rights officer in Nigeria said the NHRC stands for press freedom and will continue to advocate for same, adding that 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.
He said journalists serve as the watchdogs of any society and should be allowed to do their work without harassment and intimidation, “their role is crucial in a democratic society like ours” he said.
The human rights boss described Mr. Salem as a journalist who has 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” Ojukwu added.
He noted that enforced disappearance is one of the hazards associated with the practice of journalism in Nigeria. While calling on the authorities to respect the rights of journalists, Ojukwu 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.