From Dadiyata to Aminullah: How Security Operatives Detained, Punished and Never Released Government Critics

On November 18, 2022, security operatives whisked away Aminu Muhammad, a final-year student of Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, for criticising Nigeria’s first lady, Aisha Buhari on Twitter.

The 23-year-old Aminu, from Bauchi State, was taken away around 12 noon by operatives of Department of State Service (DSS), according to reports. He had sometime in June this year, criticised the first lady during a time when students were idle at home as a result of months-long industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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“Su mama anchi kudin talakawa ankoshi,” he tweeted in Hausa. The words loosely translated as: The words are loosely translated as “Mama has grown fat by eating the money of the masses.”

Aminu had communicated with his distressed Father, Adamu Shalele Azare, a week after he was arrested. He confirmed that he had been taken to an unknown location in Abuja and beaten mercilessly in presence of the first lady. However, his family have pleaded with Aisha to forgive him, according to Premium Times.


In a similar scenario, secret police operatives DSS stormed the residence of Abubakar Idris, a social media personality otherwise known as Abu Hanifa Dadiyata, on August 2, 2019.

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Dadiyata was taken away in the middle while driving into his Kaduna residence. His aged mother would die from emotional trauma three years after his abduction.

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His whereabouts remain a mystery. No one knows if he’s still alive or not. The social media influencer is a critic of the current administration, according to reports.


Amnesty International on August 30, 2022, released a report titled ‘Nigeria must Show Genuine Commitment to Ending Enforced Disappearances’ where it accused the Nigerian government of abducting its citizens and failing to release them.

The organisation argues that such arbitrary arrest and detention take a toll on the victims’ families who yearn to see their loved ones released.

“When people are arrested by state agents, without any trace of their whereabouts, and the state denies knowledge of where they are, their families are exposed to unthinkable suffering; they find it difficult to move on as they wait each day in anguish, hoping their loved ones’ return,” a statement by Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria, partly read.

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“The unresolved enforced disappearances of some activists underscore the need for action. Abubakar Idris (Dadiyata) has not been seen for 1,123 days since his abduction from his home in Kaduna on 2 August 2019. The government has denied holding him. His 66-year-old mother, Fatima Abubakar, who believed strongly that her son would return soon, waited in vain as the days cumulated to years. She died in anguish on Tuesday 19 April 2022,” Amnesty continued.

According to Ojigho, “between 2020 to 2022, Amnesty International Nigeria has documented several cases of enforced disappearances, mass arrest, torture, extortions, ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions by law enforcement officers responding to the activities of IPOB in the Southeast and Southwest.

Ojigho stated a 34-year-old father of three who disappeared since 6 February 2022 after arrest by the police from the State Command, Owerri, Imo State told Amnesty International.

“My son was arrested on 6 February 2022. Since his arrest, we have made efforts to locate his whereabouts to no avail. The police warned us not to come near their offices,” the man told Amnesty International.

In a similar case of enforced disappearance, Sunday Nwafor, a 47-year-old businessman was last seen on 27 February 2020 after his arrest by army officials from 140 Brigade Ohafia, Abia State, Ojigho stated.

“Since 27 February 2020, I have not seen my husband. When I go there, they tell me to go and pray; that my husband is an IPOB member. He has never participated in any IPOB activities. I now go to the bush to get firewood which I sell. My daughter had to drop out of school,” Sunday Nwafor’s wife told Amnesty International.


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