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Dadiyata:The Serengetisation of Nigerian critics, By Asaju Tunde

We are all familiar with it. It is drinking time in Serengeti. The month is July. The heat is intense. The waters are drying and every throat is thirsty. But beyond the thirst for water, the lioness and her pride are hungry. They must not go to bed hungry and they are closest to the watering hole.

The other animals are rushing to the drinking point – zebras, gazelles, buffaloes, bushbuck, eland, klipspringer, lesser kudu even the odd hare wants a drink.

They are aware of the danger, but they must fulfil a natural need for water. So, they bend down for that water. As they pull the drink to their famished throats, the lioness rouses them, they take flight, she pursues and isolates the one she had earmarked for the day’s meal. Before you could say – run – her prey is held by the jugular.

The other animals watch for a while, they exchange glances, but eventually they return to the watering hole, drank in peace and one by one, they returned to the forest in search of pasture.

You wonder what would happen if all the other animals ganged up to stop the lion and other cats depleting their numbers. I often wonder. Our elders say that it is the failure of snakes to gather as broods that makes it easier for humans to hunt them down. They ask us to imagine a brood, led by the puff adder, the cobra, the rattlesnake and the python gathered together – which human being would dare snatch any?

Nigeria and its prisoners of conscience are like beasts of the #Serengeti. Don’t accuse me of being unpatriotic by not mentioning Yankari, we all know that Yankari and other game reserves are no longer worth mentioning – except you buy the propaganda.

Back to the Serengitization of our country, On August 2, it’ll be exactly twelve months since social critic Abubakar Idris aka #Dadiyata was abducted by unidentified people. His poor wife watched the harrowing experience from the window of their home.

Her understanding was that these were plain-clothed security officials who are used to abducting their victims and to incarcerate them for years without making statements. Even in instances where they have been asked (as is this case), they have denied only for such detainees to be released later.

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Not so with Dadiyata, who is a critic of the federal as well as the Kano and Kaduna State governments. While the Daura Secret Service, DSS say it is not holding #Dadiyata, neither the Kano nor the Kaduna State government has said anything.

Somebody’s husband, some people’s father and other people’s brother, cousin and friend has disappeared for almost one year without trace. If they had killed #dadiyata, they should at least let his poor wife know so that she can make the closure for her children and perhaps try to pick up the pieces of her life.

But NO. Some people who have relatives, friends and perhaps their own children just disappeared another human being, not for any criminal act, but for his conscience. The abductors and the people for whom they were acting are supposed to be humans too – they have blood running in their veins, they walk and talk like the rest of us, but they have lost the only thing that separates the rest of us from the lions, cheetah and tigers of the Serengeti – conscience.

These people sleep and wake, like the rest of us. They eat and drink and even climb on their spouses at night, like the rest of us, but they are NOT humans. They are beasts in human garb.

Now, we are not different from the gazelles of the Serengeti if we don’t at least intermittently ask the question – where is #Dadiyata? I appeal to whatever is left in the heart of the government of Kaduna, Kano and Federal to address this country. Dadiyata is our citizen, we must show that we care. We must tell the world that critics may irk us some, but we are normal enough not to have sponsored his abduction.

If the abduction is one gone wrong (since no ransom has been demanded to my understanding), please write on a piece of paper, send to any editor of any reputable newspaper in Nigeria. Tell us you have killed Idris and where you have buried or disposed of his body.

I beg you for all that you hold dear, help Abubakar Idris’ family come to a closure. If you are holding him in a dungeon somewhere, just let us know and our hopes would be rekindled that we are not gazelles in this Serengeti in which you are the lioness. Remember that even in Serengeti, predators only kill to eat! They hardly kill to waste except they are threatened.

Photo: Courtesy #PremiumTimes

Asaju Tunde is a popular Daily Trust columnist. He is based in Canada

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