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Nigerian journalists demand probe over colleague missing for two weeks

Published: Updated:

Journalists in the Nigerian capital are demanding authorities probe the disappearance of a colleague who has been missing for two weeks and have held a protest calling for his release.

Tordue Salem, a parliamentary reporter with the independent Vanguard newspaper in Abuja was last seen on October 13 after leaving the national assembly building.

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Efforts by family, friends, and colleagues to locate the reporter have been unsuccessful.

The reasons for Salem’s sudden disappearance were not immediately clear, but many cities, including Abuja, have seen a surge in criminal abductions for ransom in recent months.

No group has claimed responsibility for the journalist’s disappearance but his colleagues said they feared the security forces may be to blame.

On Monday, Abuja-based journalists staged a protest in the capital to demand his release.

Dressed in black, the protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “Journalism Is Not a Crime,” “Free The Press,” and “Cease Attacking Journalists.”

They marched to the gate of the police headquarters where they demanded urgent action on the missing reporter.

“After having reviewed the disappearance and the seeming foot-dragging of the police, we are persuaded that he was targeted,” Abuja journalist union leader Emmanuel Ogbeche told AFP.

“It wasn’t a random act,” he said.

Ogbeche said another journalist, Jones Abiri, detained for more than two years by state security services without trial was released only after pressure by local and international rights groups.

Nigeria’s national police said they were doing everything to find the missing journalist.

“We have commenced an investigation and we have done everything humanly and technologically possible to ensure he is found,” national police spokesman Frank Mba said.

Read more: One million Nigerian children to miss school due to mass kidnappings, UNICEF says