THE police on Friday said that the hitherto missing National Assembly correspondent of the Vanguard newspapers, Mr Tordue Salem, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on the Mabushi-Wuse highway in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, disclosed this in Abuja while parading a 29-year-old commercial driver, Itoro Clement, before newsmen over the incident.
Mba said the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team, headed by Olatunji Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, finally traced the corpse of the reporter to the morgue of the Wuse General Hospital and was identified by the family.
According to him, three identity cards comprising that of the National Assembly, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Vanguard Newspaper, as well as two ATM cards were found on him.
Mba said acting on the IGP’s directive to find the missing journalist, the IRT swung into action and traced the deceased’s movements to the hospital.
He said: “On the strength of this, detectives moved to the general hospital in the area and a body that looks like his body was discovered at Wuse General Hospital.”
The police spokesman said the deceased’s family was contacted immediately and they confirmed that the body was his.
The suspected hit-and-run driver told newsmen that he fled the scene on the day of the incident as he had earlier been attacked by bandits on the same spot.
Clement, a native of Akwa Ibom State and a resident cab driver in the FCT, confessed to have hit the deceased journalist.
He said he was on maximum speed on a flyover between Jabi and Mabushi within the capital city and continued driving after the accident.
The Force PRO, Mba, said the windshield of the driver’s cab, a Toyota Camry marked BWR 243 BK, was badly damaged after he knocked down the unknown pedestrian.
He said there was a phone that was stuck inside the car which the suspect threw away after the incident, adding that some other persons picked the phone and sold some parts of it.
Asked why the identity of the deceased was not discovered since the incident happened and who brought the corpse to the hospital, the FPRO told newsmen that those things would be revealed in the course of ongoing investigations into the matter.
He advised the public, particularly motorists, to always report any accident to the nearest police station for record purposes.
Tordue was last seen on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, after close of work at the National Assembly after a colleague dropped him off at a filling station, adjacent the Police Force Headquarters.
His disappearance was immediately reported to the police authorities by the NUJ and Vanguard Newspapers Limited.
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has expressed shock and sadness at the news of the death of Mr Salem.
In a statement, Lawan said the concern of the National Assembly, when the Senate and the House of Representatives passed separate motions over the disappearance of Mr Salem, was that he was quickly found and reunited hale and hearty with his family and colleagues.
“It is, therefore, shocking to hear that the journalist had all the while been killed by a hit-and-run driver.
“This is a very unfortunate and heart-rending development,” Lawan said.
The Senate President sent his condolences to the family of Mr Salem, the management of Vanguard Newspapers, the National Assembly Press Corps and the NUJ.
He also prayed God to comfort all the loved ones of the departed and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.