Missing Vanguard reporter, Tordue Henry Salem, has been found dead in Abuja.
Late Mr. Salem was last seen on the 13th October 2021.
After the close of work that day, he was said to have alighted from a cab at Total filling station, close to the Force headquarters in Garki, Abuja, and headed for B.J’s garden, in the company of a female relative.
According to reports, when leaving the garden, he flagged a cab for the lady who left before him, telling her that he was going to Area 8, Garki, but he was never seen until his remains were recovered on Thursday, 11th November, 2021.
Alarm on his mysterious disappearance was raised on the 14th of October, 2021, a day after his disappearance, and the matter was directed to the Intelligence Response Team , IRT on 16th October, 2021.
Some arrests were reportedly made. Among them was that of a man who was picked for attempting to extort the family of Mr. Salem.
The man, identified as Prince Enyenihi, 25, contacted Mrs. Salem on October 26, 2021, via a text message with a concealed number, requesting for N100 million ransom, to be paid as ransom for her husband’s release.
Part of the text message read: “if you don’t pay, Tordue will be killed in seven days. For more information, call this number …”. The text message also contained an account number the money should be paid into.
After this, an anonymous call was placed with a concealed number to Salem’s wife the next day. On the call, Mrs Salem requested to speak with her husband, to ascertain he was alive before negotiation would began. But the caller gave the phone to someone who tried to play along.
When she noticed that the voice did not sound like her husband’s, she asked the stranger to mention the name of their daughter and her birth date, a question that met dead silence at the other end.
Same evening, another anonymous call with a concealed number was received by Mrs Salem, requesting to know if her husband had been released.
The confused woman was said to have requested why the caller had his number concealed.
On 27th October, another text message was received by Mrs. Salem. It appeared to have been sent on a bulk text message platform, ordering the family to pay the N100 million ransom before the next day, failure of which they would kill Salem.
The Police swung into action first, by de-encrypting the number that called and the line was traced to a lady in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
As Police interrogated her, the lady, who owns Joy Skin Care denied culpability, stating rather, that a particular number had been calling her line since 26th October, 2021.
As the interrogation wen on, operatives discovered that the number was same with that used to contact Mrs Salem, consequent upon which 25-year-old Enyenihi was arrested on 5th November, 2021.
During preliminary investigation, it was discovered that he was next door neighbor to the beautician. During interrogation, he disclosed that he got information of Vanguard reporter’s disappearance on a flyer that went viral on social media, which had the number of Mrs Salem as the contact person to report to if found.
The suspect further stated that he sent the text messages without the knowledge of his female neighbour, adding that he got his neighbour’s telephone number and account details from her Facebook page .
He said, “I knew the family wouldn’t pay the money. I used the owner of Joy beauty skin care ‘s account details in order to punish her for always talking to me anyhow”.
The Police has stated that investigation on this will continue so as to hold relevant parties involved culpable.
Story: Ene Ken-Yawe