SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 15, 2012

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Other

Institution(s):Rivers State University of Science and Technology

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

During a university visit by the Governor of River State, members of the local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities confronted university administration and the Governor, stating that due process had not been followed in the appointment and re-appointment of a senior official at the university. The union chapter then organized a meeting to discuss the situation.
According to reports, as the meeting was being convened, university security appeared and demanded that it be aborted. The Chairman of the union chapter, Dr. Felix Igwe, requested a letter authorizing security’s demands and refused to disperse until such a letter could be produced. Security officers allegedly returned with a group of armed riot policemen to forcefully stop the meeting from taking place. Reportedly, one of the policemen physically attacked Dr. Igwe, who fled the scene and spent several days receiving medical treatment for his injuries.
The staff club where the meeting took place has remained locked to staff since it was taken over by university security. Further, university administration released a series of memoranda curtailing the activities of the Union and its members, including prohibiting the union from holding any meetings on campus and forbidding all university staff from speaking to the press without prior authorization from the administration.
UPDATE: This incident is followed by an update. To view, please click here.