Slain Vanguard reporter’s family picks holes in police claims

The family members of slain Vanguard Newspaper reporter, Tordue Salem, have said they had yet to see the body of the person said to have been killed by a hit-and-run driver before the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, claimed that they had confirmed the corpse.

The family also disclosed that Salem had earlier been attacked at his Lugbe residence, making them to force him to relocate to another place.

Vanguard had broken the news of Salem’s death on Thursday after he had been missing since October 13, 2021.

A journalist at the House had given Salem a ride to the Total filling station close to the Force Headquarters from where he reportedly headed for BJ’s Garden, Area 8 in Garki.

His body was reportedly found somewhere in the Abuja metropolis.

Mba, a Commissioner of Police, had while parading the suspected killer, Itoro Clement, on Friday said the family had confirmed the body of the person allegedly killed by the driver to be that of Salem.

The family, however, picked holes in the claims by the Nigeria Police Force when members of the House of Representatives’ Press Corps visited the family in Abuja on Monday.

Salem’s brother-in-law, Dr Jeffrey Kuraun; his elder sister, Mrs Elizabeth Kuraun; his wife Deve; and his five-year-old daughter, Avaana, received the journalists.

Addressing Salem’s colleagues, Jeffrey Kuraun recalled that the slain journalist was attacked at his former residence in Trademore Estate, Lugbe area of Abuja by yet-to-be-identified persons who broke into his apartment and carted away some valuables, including electronics, and stabbed him in the head about six months ago.

Karaun said, “Somebody was living with him – his nephew – and some people entered the house, packed everything – electronics and stuff like that – and said ‘where is your uncle?’

“This young man went and knocked and he opened the door and they attacked him with machetes. Because of his frame, they couldn’t do anything (to Salem) but gave him a cut on his forehead and thumb. That was less than six months ago.”

The brother-in-law further said, “As for Tordue, you all watched the press conference: I think this is the first time I see every Nigerian saying, ‘No, tell this to the trash. Don’t tell us. We don’t believe that. That is what everybody is saying.

“As a family, do we believe in the story? No, we don’t believe it. It could be true but we don’t. Why? Do more to clarify certain things; maybe by the time the investigators get to us formally, because that has not happened as of today; we’ve not been informed.

“I understand that investigation is ongoing. Even if you get those who are responsible, they have not been taken to any court. Then, there is a lot more that will take place. Maybe that is what the police are waiting to do before they would fully inform us. But that has not happened.”

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