Nigerian critic, Dadiyata, remains missing six months after disappearance

Abubakar Idris also known as Dadiyata, a social media personality known for his strong criticism of Governor Umar Ganduje. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Facebook page of Dadiyata]
Abubakar Idris also known as Dadiyata, a social media personality known for his strong criticism of Governor Umar Ganduje. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Facebook page of Dadiyata]

Six months after he was abducted from his home in Kaduna by unknown assailants, a social media critic, popular for his frequent denunciation of Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State and his policie, has not been found.

Abubakar Idris, who is better known as Dadiyata, has been missing since August 2, 2019 when unidentified men seized him from his residence in Barnawa neighbourhood of Kaduna State.

According to the account given by the police, Mr Idris was returning home at about 1 a.m. when some armed men, breached his house’s security, and took him away in his BMW car.

Till date, he and the vehicle have not been found, six months on.

Mr Idris, 34, a lecturer at the Federal University Dutsinma, Katsina State, was initially suspected to have been arrested by agents of the dreadful State Security Service (SSS).

For what was first considered an illegal detention, Haneefa, Mr Idris’ wife, sued the SSS Kaduna command, the Commissioner of Police and the state government, seeking the “unconditional release” of her husband and payment of the sum of ₦50 million in damages.

But both the SSS and police denied arresting Mr Idris. Concerns, especially from his family, have therefore deepened on what might have been Mr Idris’ fate since no security outfit has claimed to know his whereabouts. His captors have also not demanded a ransom, six months after.

Regardless, some Nigerians still believe Mr Idris was taken away in connection with his views, and the government would have something to do with his disappearance.

A distraught Mrs Idris, when contacted on Sunday, said the matter is still in court. She said the police has not reached out to her in a long time.

Kaduna police spokesperson, Yakubu Sabo, on Monday said investigation was still on. He added that all traces to Mr Idris have been met with “obstacles.”

“We are still investigating. At times we use technical means to ascertain his location. This will mean using his phone number, which has been dormant for long, for the technical experts to know his whereabouts,” he said.

No database of missing persons

Due to lack of national database of its citizens, tracing missing persons in Nigeria is at best daunting task. Efforts of nongovernmental organisations are, however, giving a glimpse of how rife forced disappearance is in the country.

In the northeast alone, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said during a decade of conflict in the area, nearly 22,000 Nigerians — 60 per cent of whom were minors — have been reported missing, the highest number of missing persons registered with the ICRC in any country.

The group also says only 367 cases have been solved since it received its first cases in 2013, “underscoring the immense challenges that come with finding missing people and reconnecting them with their families in Nigeria.”

“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search. People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place,” Peter Maurer, the ICRC president, said.

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Also, in July 2019, Enough is Enough Nigeria, a governance and public accountability advocacy coalition, launched an online tracking of missing persons.

Within three months of its launch, the group had recorded 111 entries, of which 69 were still missing, 35 were found alive and seven were found dead.

Since inception, Alice Eze, spokesperson of the group, said 136 entries of missing people have been received. 86 of them are still missing while 39 were found alive and the remaining 11 were found dead.


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