About a month after he was declared missing, Tordue Henry Salem, a journalist with Vanguard Newspaper, was found dead.
His sudden disappearance had made the headlines for weeks with many posing theories regarding his whereabouts.
Tordue’s corpse was however discovered after 29 days in a hospital morgue; the discovery while bringing a gruesome search to an abrupt halt, stirred many more questions.
In seeking to provide an answer to the first most vital question regarding the journalist’s mysterious disappearance and awful death, the police dug deeper, following all leads possible and this seemed to have paid off.
Within days of discovering the body, police apprehended a commercial cab driver and a shocking confession was made.
The narrative was quite simple; police say it was an unfortunate case of a hit-and-run. In his own words, the driver – Itoro Clement says he was driving late at night and some persons attempted to cross the expressway and one of them got knocked down by his Camry.
When asked why he did not flinch at the incident nor thought it wise to report, Itoro’s reply was simply that he thought those who attempted to cross were mere robbers.
While on the surface its looks like a straight-jacket story, there are many who believe there is more to the tale than meets the eyes.
For those who believe that the confession of the driver and the developments leading to the discovery of Tordue’s body do not sit well, here are 6 questions they believe must be answered before the case and the corpse is laid to rest.
1.How did his phone end up totally unnoticed on the car’s windshield
While making his confession, Itoro Clement, the driver who allegedly hit Tordue said he found the victim’s smashed phone close to the wiper end of his windshield.
Curiously, the driver did not see it on the night of the incident, he found it by morning at the garage where he regularly parks his car. And what he does next is simply toss the phone away, after all, it supposedly belongs to a “robber” he just hit.
Perhaps what was revealed next is more troubling.
2.Who sold the smashed phone?
After the phone was reportedly tossed into the thrash, police say some youngsters found the scrap and sold it. Now the question becomes who are those that sold the phone, who did they sell it to?
How badly smashed was this phone and if it was as bad as the driver portrayed it, how come it still had sale value? Who made the initial test calls from Tordue’s sim? How can we say for sure that those who sold the phone or its parts were acting independently?
3.Who was calling Tordue’s wife and how did he get the contact of other family members?
Within the period he was missing, the Vanguard reporter’s wife got several calls from a person posing as a kidnapper.
The police say he made use of some “bulk SMS service” in Rivers State, but that really says little about how the individual who we now know as Prince Eyeniyi got the contact info of the victim’s wife.
Furthermore, one wonders, what really is the link between this individual and the driver and how can they be linked to the persons who sold or bought Tordue’s shattered phone?
4.Where are the policemen at the checkpoint?
One highly appalling detail provided by Itoro Clement was that just after he hit the journalist, he was stopped by police officers at a checkpoint in Wuse 2, these policemen are said to have told the driver to go report himself.
It is very strange, in that he was already reporting himself, saying he had just hit someone. He had a badly bashed windshield and other dents on his car as proof of his claim.
These officers did not head to the scene of the accident, who knows they might have helped the victim. Why did they not take the driver in for questioning?
Tordue’s corpse was discovered at the Wuse General Hospital where it was labelled “Unknown Body”.
What is shocking here is the fact that 29 days earlier when the victim was brought to the morgue, he had on his person, two bank cards and a valid means of identification.
So, it begs the question, did those in charge not know what bank cards were or could they not read what was on the identity card?
Were they not aware that there was a journalist missing within the metropolis, one whose name had been in the news for 29 days?
How easy is it to say that such an individual was in your possession and no one could step up the leadership ladder as to reach out to the police and members of the deceased’s family?
6.What does the autopsy say?
This is one question that needs to be answered soon enough. There surely have to be wounds that are consistent with being hit at such great speed by a car.
Also, we can determine from the body when the victim died and see if it is consistent with the timeline. Could there be other things that would tell us if truly the victim was knocked down.
Certain marks on other parts of the body may suggest foul play beyond the hit-and-run narrative.
While the efforts of the police so far are highly appreciated, however, there are questions that still need to be answered with respect to Tordue’s death. In line with this thought, the minority caucus of the House of Representatives has urged the police to conduct further investigations into the matter.
Minority leader of the House, Rep Ndudi Elumelu, noted that there were conflicting official security reports on the matter, saying investigations must not be foreclosed.
Police have said investigations are still ongoing as the officers who failed to follow up when they were told of the incident are being questioned.
It is hoped that proper clarifications will be made regarding Tordue’s disappearance and death, as to ensure that all questions are answered for the benefit of all.