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Day of the Disappeared: Nigerians remember Dadiyata, Sharibu, Chibok Girls, 23,000 others whose whereabouts still unknown

In celebration of the  International Disappearance Day yesterday August 30, many Nigerians have called attention to the continued disappearance of Abubakar Idris better known as Dadiyata, and many other Nigerians still missing. 

Despite numerous hashtags on social media, calls by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), concerning the whereabouts of Dadiyata, his disappearance has been shrouded in mystery for more than one year.

He was reportedly abducted in Kaduna State on August 9, 2019, by armed men suspected to be officers of the State Security Service (SSS), a claim the SSS denied.

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File Photo: Missing Dadiyata

Dadiyata is not the only Nigerian that has disappeared without a trace, his ordeal is similar to that of Livinus Okafor allegedly arrested by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force in Anambra State.

To date his whereabouts have been unknown, his relatives have said.

Some social media influencers in solidarity have changed their profile names to Dadiyata while some have changed their profile pictures to Dadiyata’s.

Unlawful Military detention
Earlier in 2019, the European Union (EU) in a resolution had criticized the Nigerian Military over unlawful detention.

According to the EU, investigations revealed that about 3,600 persons most of which are girl children are being illegally kept in military detention without evidence.

“The military has systematically denied access to the detention facilities to verify the conditions in which children are held,” the EU noted.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) in commemoration of the International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances urged the Nigerian Government to as a matter of urgency ‘provide information on the fate or whereabouts of detained victims’.

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HRW also called for the release of suspects who have not been charged in government detention facilities, and increase efforts to locate and return those in Boko Haram custody.

Forgotten 112 of Chibok Girls, over 100 in Dapchi

BringBackOurGirls became an international trend as many celebrities, activists and civil society organisations decried the kidnap of 276 schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School on the 14th of April 2014 by the Islamic Extremist Group, Boko Haram in Chibok town of Maiduguri in Borno state.

Eight years later, the whereabouts of 112 of these schoolgirls is yet unknown as there is a fleeting effort by the Nigerian Government to rescue them, according to the Bring Back Our Girls Movement.

Screen-shot from the first video of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, released by Boko Haram in May 2014.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has forgotten the remaining 112 Chibok schoolgirls and Leah Sharibu who has been in Boko Haram captivity, BBOG has said.

The group further alleged that the Presidency copied and pasted the statement of the previous year in the 2020 commemoration of the Chibok Girls.

“It is most sad and disheartening that the administration copied the statement from last year verbatim and pasted with minor updates like the date to deceive the public,” the group said.

Also on February 19, 2018, more than 100 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Dapchi Town in Yobe state by suspected Boko haram insurgents.

Although most of these children reportedly appeared days after, the whereabouts of others are unknown.

Failed promise on more than 23,000 Nigerians lost to conflict

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About 44,000 persons most of which are children are currently missing in Africa most of which are children according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Out of the 44,000 missing persons, the Red Cross estimates that about 23,000 of these cases are from Nigeria.

Due to several cases of conflicts, violence and insurgency, mostly in the Northern part of the country, Nigeria remains the epicentre of missing persons in Africa.

The Nigeria Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had in a report in 2015 promised to keep a register of missing persons in the country and has failed to keep this promise.

As of the time of filing this report, there is no visible registry on the website of the NHRC on the registry of missing persons in Nigeria.

Nigerian Government mute on the International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances

Despite being the centre of missing/disappeared persons in the African continent, there was no official statement from the Nigerian government about the International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

A check on the website of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian and Social Development by The ICIR revealed that there was no official statement on the website.

The social media handle of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouk was also visited by The ICIR and it was found out that there was no statement from the minister.

Other Social Media handles of the Spokesperson to the President, Garba Shehu, and other Media and Publicity Assistants/Adviser; Tolu Ogunlesi, Femi Adesina, and Bashir Ahmad were visited and there was no statement on behalf of the president on the missing persons on August 30.

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