The 29-year-old suspect who is the driver that killed Vanguard journalist, Clement Itoro, has revealed that he hit the deceased with his car and ran away because he thought he was a thief.
Itoro who was paraded on Friday at the headquarters of the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abuja by the force spokesman, Frank Mba, explained that he knocked down the deceased at Mabushi area in the FCT.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that Tordue Salem, an indigene of Benue State, who covers the House of Representatives for the newspapers, was last seen on October 13, 2021, a situation that sparked outrage in the country.
Salem’s body was later found on Thursday, November 11, twenty-nine days after he went missing.
Parading the suspect, Mba told newsmen that 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 Salem at about 10:00 pm on the night of 13th October, 2021, around Mabushi area in Abuja but ran away.
Speaking to journalists during the parade, the suspect, Itoro also admitted to have knocked down an unknown pedestrian at about 10:00 pm the same day Tordue Salem went missing.
He, however, said he did not stop to attend to his victim because he was afraid he could get attacked by armed robbers, saying the Mabushi area where the accident took place is known for criminal activities, hence he was afraid he could be attacked.
“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,” he said.
Itoro 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 down someone.
He said the police officers 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.
Explaining how Itoro was arrested, Mba said the detectives from the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) began an investigation into the disappearance of Late Salem which led them to trace his phone found at Good Friends Garden, Mpape in Abuja.
He said, “When Clement hit Tordue, the victim’s phone, an iPhone fell on the car’s windscreen. The suspect, however, disposed off 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.”
The police spokesman said the boys also tried using the SIM cards for calls, which made it easy for the police to trace the phone, adding that further investigations led to the eventual arrest of Itoro.
He specifically disclosed that Late Salem’s corpse was found at about 11:30am on Thursday, 11 November 2021 at the Wuse General Hospital Morgue in Abuja.
He said during a search on the Late Salem’s 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.
But not satisfied with Mba’s explanations, the journalists who attended the parade asked why the management of Wuse General Hospital (where Salem’s body was found) did not report the incident for long since documents belonging to Late Salem were on him.
Responding to journalists’ questions, Mba said that the Police will address issues of negligence on the part of the hospital management and even the policemen at the Wuse Checkpoint on the night of the accident after all the facts of the matter have been gathered.