A day turns two and now, it is over 92 days that a fierce critic of the ruling party, Abubakar Idris, popularly known as Dadiyata, has been seen or heard about. That’s how long his wife has waited for the person at their doorstep to be him; how long his children have missed his adoring palm cuddle them to sleep on their bedside; and loved ones waited for their phones to ring and his voice is heard from the other side of the phone. That’s the extent of the phycological torture Dadiyata family has had to endure over his mysterious disappearance.
And, there is no end in sight to that traumatic experience. No one has owned up to having him even though he was forcibly whisked away right in front of his residence in Barnawa area of Kaduna state. It was on the 2nd of August, 2019 and nothing has been heard about him to date. The premise for his abduction is unclear and whereabouts are unknown.
But what is puzzling, is the muted response of the government to the sudden disappearance of Dadiyata. For weeks that the University lecturer is missing, the ruling government, either in Kaduna state or his home state of Kano, has maintained a deafening silence. And that is fuelling theories that Dadiyata’s disappearance may be political.
Whether online or offline, Dadiyata was consistent in voicing his disapproval of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government and bemoaned the trajectory of the country under the ruling party. Times without number, Dadiyata would take to his Twitter page to lament the disturbing surge of poverty among Nigerians and point out bad governance as the underlining cause of the situation facing the country.
For him, those in government are not serving the people as they should. He was an example of what good leadership could yield and he wants many other Nigerians to benefit from the opportunity the country offers just like he did. That was why he’s a staunch follower of a former governor of Kano state, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who sponsored him and many other Kano indigenes abroad for education without political considerations.
His intention is noble and patriotic. That is what usually irritates him when he noticed poor governance and increasing pressed for a better service for citizens. The essence of any government is to serve the people and if Dadiyata is not impressed, it is within his right as a citizen to voice out.
But his voice in demanding better service for the people seemed to have grown so loud that someone is terrified. And the question that agitates many minds including mine is ‘who is terrified by Dadiyata voice’? Those inquisitive minds are well aware of Dadiyata’s calm, friendly and trouble-free personality and were not able to get the motivation for his disappearance.
What is more disturbing and painful is the feeling of what his family and loved ones must be passing through. This was obvious when Dadiyata’s wife busted into tears during a telephone interview with Premium Times when she said: “The children have been asking for their father.” No child would not notice their father not being around for over 92 days.
But the most disturbing part is when she said: “The Police are telling us they would do their best and we have not been able to get more than that from them”. It’s unimaginable that anyone could just disappearance and after days, the police would still be clueless about where to look or give the family a glimpse of hope. And this was the same Police that the “patrol team led by the DPO quickly moved to the scene but the hoodlums had already escaped with the victim,” and went on to say “the command (Kaduna Police) is currently making efforts to apprehend the fleeing suspected criminals and rescue the victim.”
For sometimes now, the manner in which vocal voices have gone missing or arrested on trump up charges have raised great concerns on the tolerance to divergent views. Even more disturbing is the impunity with which those who despise criticisms, abuse their privileges and excessively unleash state apparatus to silence opposing voices by taking them out of circulation.
Stories of critics railroaded, harassed, intimidated and hurled into detentions are become frequent, stirring fears on the minds of the people about their safety after speaking. Joseph Odok, Stephen Kefason, and some unknown critics are languishing in prison or detention facilities across the country. Their crimes, just like Dadiyata, are being vocal critics of government policies and asking for better services for the people.
But that of Dadiyata is, even more, a nightmare for his family. No one deserves such a traumatic experience and anyone holding Dadiyata should halt that horrible pain. The unending trauma that the people holding Dadiyata has passed on his family is too frightening and this experience must end. I add my voice to the campaign to #FreeDadiyata now
Oke Umurhohwo is a Political Analyst and Strategist. He tweets via @OkeStalyf and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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