The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Ojo Amos, has expressed sadness over the disappearance of Tordue Salem, a Vanguard Correspondent covering the House of Representatives.
Newsmen reports that Mr Salem was last seen on October 19 leaving the premises of the National Assembly.
Efforts to locate his whereabouts since then by his colleagues, relatives and security operatives have proved abortive.
Worried by the development, Mr Ojo in his opening remarks at a two-day Capacity Building Workshop organised for journalists covering the National Assembly in Abuja said, on Monday, that he was deeply saddened by the incident.
“It is tragic to note that one of our own, Tordue Salem, a Vanguard correspondent and a member of the House of Representatives Press Corps is still missing.
“As the chief bureaucrat of the National Assembly, I am deeply pained that this unfortunate reality is confronting all of us today.
“I hereby use this medium to urge security personnel handling the disappearance of Mr Tordue Salem to be proactive and assiduous, so that we can get to the root of this singularly tormenting matter,” he said.
Also speaking on the sad incident, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, who represented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called for prayers for the missing journalist before delivering the speaker’s speech.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, held a peaceful march which culminated in the submission of a petition to the Inspector-General of Police
‘Educate the public’
Mr Ojo also urged journalists covering the National Assembly to protect the image of the parliamentary institution by educating the public on issues always misunderstood.
He urged National Assembly reporters to change the uncomplimentary narrative against the federal lawmakers by always putting the facts across to Nigerians as against mischievous comments often made to disparage the parliament.
“It is unfortunate that those set of disingenuous elites, who were supposed to be abreast of constitutional provisions, had attempted to mislead the public.
“Do we say those who vehemently wanted to undermine the powers of the National Assembly Service Commission ( NASC) were ignorant of the workings of the legislature, as it relates to the doctrine of separation of powers, such as it is obtainable in the US?
“I think such mischief-makers must be handled adequately by media stakeholders in the National Assembly anytime they raise their ugly heads.
“Really, no one section of the country can tell the whole story of our nascent democracy and legislature like the media who are notable partners in progress, bearing in mind that whenever there is a coup, the major casualties are both the media and the legislature”, he said.
The high point of the first day of the workshop was the presentation of papers by resource persons.
The papers presented included one titled, ‘The Role of the Media in Citizen’s Mobilisation and Engagement in the Legislative Process’ by Peter Onyeneye, a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
The rest are: ‘Understanding the Relationship Between the Media and the Parliament’ by Abiodun Adeniyi, a professor, and ‘Code of Ethics, Rules and Regulations of Legislative Reporting’ by Olusegun Adeniyi, Chairman ThisDay Editorial Board.