Why I ran away after killing Vanguard journalist – Suspect

The police have arrested a commercial driver suspected to be responsible for the death of a Vanguard Journalist, Tordue Salem.

The suspect, a 29-year-old commercial driver, Itoro Clement, was paraded on Friday in Abuja.

Police spokesperson Frank Mba said Clement was arrested following an investigation carried out by the Force Intelligence Bureau.

He said Clement, who was driving a 2004 Model Camry with number plate BWR 243 BK, confessed to having hit Tordue at about 10 pm on the night of 13 October 2021, around the Mabushi area in Abuja but ran away.

While speaking to journalists during the parade, Clement admitted to have knocked off an unknown pedestrian at about 10:00 pm the same day Tordue Salem went missing.

READ ALSO: Man confesses to killing Vanguard reporter, Tordue Salem, in hit-and-run

He however said he did not stop to attend to his victim because he was afraid he could get attacked by armed robbers.

According to Clement, the Mabushi area where the accident took place is known for criminal activities, hence he was afraid he could be attacked.

He said, “I thought it was an armed robber that I knocked down until the following day when I saw a smashed phone on my windscreen. The phone was not working again so I threw it away.

“The place I knocked this person down is a criminal place; everybody knows that place.”

Clement further explained that after driving for some miles, he came across a police checkpoint and reported to the officers on duty that he had hit someone. He said they told him to go to the Wuse Police Station to report himself, but he refused and went straight to Good Friends Garden, where he normally parked his car, before proceeding home to his bed.

Tordue’s body was found on Thursday, 11 November, 29 days after he went missing.

Tordue, an indigene of Benue State, covered the House of Representatives for Vanguard newspaper, and his disappearance had sparked protests and agitations by the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Abuja.

Speaking on Clement’s arrest, Mba said they began an investigation into the disappearance of Tordue, which led them to trace his phone found at Good Friends Garden, Mpape in Abuja.

According to Mr Mba, “When Clement hit Tordue, the victim’s phone, an iPhone, fell on the car’s windscreen. The suspect however disposed of the phone at Good Friends Garden where he usually parked his car. But the phone was picked by some boys working in the garden and some parts of the phone were sold by the boys.”

He however said the boys also tried using the SIM cards for calls, which made it easy for the police to trace the phone.

The police spokesman said further investigations led to the eventual arrest of Clement.

He also disclosed that Tordue’s corpse was found at about 11:30 am on Thursday at the Wuse General Hospital Morgue in Abuja.

He said during a search on the body, a Keystone bank debit card, a Union Bank debit card, an ID card issued by Vanguard Newspaper, an NUJ ID card, and a temporary ID card from the National Assembly Media Corp, all bearing the late journalist’s name, were found.

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