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DSS denies involvement Vanguard reporter’s death

DSS, the Department of State Services has denied having a hand in the disappearance and eventual death of Vanguard journalist, Tordue Salem.

The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, made the clarification at a one-day seminar organised by the security agency in conjunction with the FCT Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Abuja on Saturday.

Afunanya made it clear that the DSS did not arrest, detain or have anything to do with Tordue, who was reported missing since October 13, 2021 before the police claimed the discovery of his body at the Wuse General Hospital on Friday.

Afunanya’s reaction followed a motion at the instance of a senator from Benue State, Emmanuel Orker-Jev that the security agencies should be pressed to produce the missing journalist who was one of his constituents before his death.

“The Department of State Services did not arrest, detain or have a hand in Tordue’s death, Afunanya said.

“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,” the DSS Spokesman said.

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At the seminar,  the FCT Chairma. of the NUJ, Emmanuel Ogbeche, called for greater cooperation between the media and security agencies to ensure balance, truthful and unbiased reporting and sharing of information that can engender national unity, peace and development.

Ogbeche, who delivered the keynote address at the event, appreciated the initiative of the DSS in training of journalists covering the beat by organizing the seminar with the theme “Media and Security Cooperation for National Unity”, describing it as timely and apt.

Delivering a paper on the theme “Fake News and National Security”, the DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, decried the growing spread of fake news by journalists on very sensitive issues that have the potential to create conflict, disunity and destruction of the country.

Afunanya said that the best way to save the country from trouble was for journalists to exercise their roles with a greater sense of responsibility, tact and sensitivity in the discharge of their duties as there could be no place for journalism practice without national security and a country.

READ ALSO: Tordue Salem, murdered Vanguard reporter sister speaks

Also speaking on the theme “Media and Security Relations: Challenges and Prospects”, the Northern Region Editor of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Soni Daniel, made a strong case for journalists to beware of elements who are out to exploit their strategic roles to foment trouble and truncate the progress so far made by Nigeria and draw the nation and its people backwards.

Mr. Daniel called for greater understanding, collaboration and trust between security agencies and the media in tackling insecurity in the country rather than see themselves as competitors trying to outwit the other in the discharge of their roles.

During the event, a one-minute silence was observed for the dead Vanguard journalist, Tordue Salem and all other journalists who were slain in the course of their duties.