The Department of State Services (DSS), Sunday, criticised the Senator representing Benue North-West, Emmanuel Orker-Jev, over his allegation that the killed Vanguard reporter, Tordue Salem, was in custody of the secret police.
The lawmaker, upon resumption of the plenary session on Tuesday, while raising a point of order, had alleged that the secret police took custody of the then missing journalist.
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Citing orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Rules, Orker-Jev said “On October 13 between 8-9pm, Salem went missing and all phone contact with him ceased.”
Following his point of order, the Senate charged the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to; “as a matter of urgency”, direct a special investigation into the disappearance of the journalist before he was later found dead two days after.
Reacting to the lawmaker’s accusation, the spokesman of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, described the allegation made against the secret service as ”fake news” capable of jeopardizing national unity.
Afunanya, who spoke in Abuja during a one-day seminar on media and national security, wondered why a highly-placed person in a society like a lawmaker could not seek clarifications on the issue before pointing accusing fingers.
”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,” he said.
The DSS spokesman added, ”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.”
Also speaking at the seminar, the FCT Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Emmanuel Ogbeche, called for greater cooperation between the media and security agencies to ensure balanced, truthful and unbiased reporting and sharing of information that can engender national unity, peace and development.