Four years have passed since Idris Abubakar, known to many as Dadiyata, was mysteriously abducted from his residence in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria. On the fateful night of 2nd August 2019, anonymous individuals kidnapped him and his whereabouts remain unknown to this day. Despite the passing of four years, the question, “where is Dadiyata?” still resonates, with the Nigerian authorities failing to provide any substantial answers.
Known for his vocal criticism of the Nigerian government on various social media platforms, Dadiyata’s abduction mirrors the experiences of many other government critics who have faced harassment, arrest, threats, and legal action. This pattern was evident when, on 8th May 2019, Steven Kefason, a critic of the Kaduna State government, was arrested and detained for 162 days over a Facebook post.
Both the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria’s secret police, and the Kaduna State government, have denied any involvement in Dadiyata’s disappearance. However, this does not absolve the government from its failure to protect his basic human rights, including his right to freedom of movement and liberty.
The Nigerian government continues to curtail the freedom of speech of its citizens and the press. The seeming indifference of the state authorities in conducting thorough investigations into missing persons cases is deeply concerning. There isn’t even a comprehensive national database on the number of missing persons, further highlighting the government’s lackadaisical approach.
The “Where is Dadiyata?” movement is about more than just finding Dadiyata. It’s a call to ensure the defense of freedom of expression in Nigeria. Four years have passed with no progress in Dadiyata’s case, raising questions about what this might mean for other government critics, the government’s ability to protect its citizens’ rights, and the actual state of freedom of expression in Nigeria.
The Nigerian authorities’ sluggishness in addressing missing persons cases and safeguarding its citizens’ basic human rights is akin to a ship without a rudder. The recurring disappearances of government critics need to be thoroughly investigated by the authorities, who bear the responsibility of protecting all citizens’ rights.
We urge the state actors to shed light on Dadiyata’s four-year-long disappearance case and provide information about his location. The trend of unaccountable arrests and disappearances must end. The Nigerian government owes its people transparency, accountability, and justice. Until then, we will continue to ask, “Where is Dadiyata?” It’s a question that cannot be ignored.
State authorities must carry out a comprehensive investigation into his case. The government needs to recognize Dadiyata’s human rights and ensure his safe return. Like every other citizen, his safety must be the government’s priority.