It has been four years since Idris Abubakar popularly known as Dadiyata was abducted from his home in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria. On 2nd August 2019, unidentified men seized Dadiyata at the entrance of his home, and till date,

neither his whereabouts nor the identity of his abductors is known. The question of‘where is Dadiyata?’ is being asked for four years and no concrete response has been provided by the Nigerian authorities.

Dadiyata is a known critic of the Nigerian government on social media and like many other critics of

the government who have had to endure harassments, arrest, threats, and litigations by the state actors, Dadiyata’s case is not far-fetched from these scenarios. On 8th May 2019, the police command arrested Steven Kefason, a critic of the Kaduna State government and detained him for

162 days over a Facebook post. The pattern of disappearances of government critics in Nigeria has long been established.

Nigeria’s secret police, Department of State Services (DSS) and the Kaduna State government have denied having any involvement with Dadiyata’s disappearance, but this does not negate the fact that the government has failed in protecting his human rights. The government’s pivotal responsibility is

to protect the basic human rights of citizens such as the right to movement and liberty.

Time after time, the Nigerian government have made efforts to restrain the freedom of expression of its citizens and press freedom. The nonchalance of the state authorities in conducting adequate investigation of missing persons in the country is quite alarming. Till date, there is no definitive

national data on the number of missing persons in Nigeria because there is no official index. It is safe to say that the government’s effort in investigating Dadiyata’s case, if any, is below par.

‘Where is Dadiyata?’ movement is not limited to finding Dadiyata, it is to reassure citizens and the media that the freedom of expression in Nigeria is adequately defended and unwavering. It is four years down the line and there has not been a single headway regarding Dadiyata’s case. The question of ‘where is Dadiyata?’ has sprung up new questions of ‘What does this mean for other government

critics? Are the state actors incapable of protecting the rights of its citizens?  Is the freedom of expression actually free in Nigeria after all?  Does this translate to a leverage for abductors to go scot-free in Nigeria?

The languidness of the Nigerian authorities in tackling cases of missing persons and protecting the fundamental human rights of its citizens has become a matter of a ship without a rudder. The incessant disappearances of government critics must be scrutinized by the authorities as it remains

their responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens and ensure that the rights of the citizens are


We beseech the state actors to address the four-year-long case of Dadiyata’s disappearance and divulge information concerning his whereabouts. The train of unexplained arrests and disappearances of citizens must come to a halt. Accountability, justice, and transparency from the

government are long overdue and we will continue to ask the question of ‘Where is Dadiyata?’ and

this question will not pass by as insignificant.

State authorities must provide answers. There must be a concrete investigation regarding his case.

The government must uphold Dadiyata’s human rights and bring him home safely. His protection, just like every other citizen must be a priority of the government.

 Ameedat Abdusalam, Amnesty International, Nigeria

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