Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev has been reprimanded by the Department of State Services (DSS) for claiming that killed Vanguard reporter Tordue Salem was in its custody before his death.
On Tuesday, November 9, the senator representing Benue North-West raised a point of order, stating that the DSS had taken the missing journalist into custody. “On October 13 between 8-9pm, Salem went missing and all phone contact with him halted,” Orker-Jev claimed, citing Senate Rules 42 and 52.
Following the point of order, the Senate directed Usman Baba, the Inspector-General of Police, to direct a special probe into the disappearance of the journalist “as a matter of urgency.” Salem was however found dead two days after.
DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya responded to charges made by the Benue-born senator during a one-day seminar on media and national security by accusing him of peddling “false news” that could jeopardize national unity.
Afunanya further claimed that the high-ranking politician never sought clarification from the National Assembly’s service office before making the claim.
”I don’t think someone like the Senator should have made such an allegation against a responsible institution like the Department of State Service.
“He should have sought clarifications from the service’s office in the National Assembly.
”The Department of State Service did not arrest, detain or have a hand in Tordue’s death.
“Moreso, Tordue was not covering or related in any way to any security institution or beat and had not done anything to attract any security attention.
”The DSS being a responsible organisation does not embark on indiscriminate and secret arrest and detention or killing of anybody and could therefore not have arrested or detained the dead journalist.
“Whenever we have justifiable reason to arrest or detain anyone, we always make it public and give reasons for such action in accordance with the rules of our engagement.”