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: October 09, 2012

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):University of Port Harcourt

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In early October 2012, four students of the University of Port Harcourt were lynched and brutally murdered by a mob in one of the University’s host communities, in response to allegations that they were involved in the theft of laptops and cell phones. On October 9, 2012 following widespread condemnation of the killings, students of the University of Port Harcourt embarked on a street protest. In the course of the protest, a group of students ran into Dr. Andrew Efemini, a lecturer at the University and the Acting Head of the Department of Philosophy. Reportedly Dr. Efemini was on his way to the bank when he was recognized by the students who forcibly stopped his car and urged him take part in the strike as a sign of solidarity. A number of students then mounted Dr. Efemini’s vehicle to address the protesters.
University administration discussed Dr. Efemini’s alleged participation in the student protests at an emergency meeting of the University Senate and announced his removal from office as Acting Head of Department on the grounds that he had incited the crowd. According to reports, Dr Efemini was not given an opportunity to present his account of the events. After his removal, the University’s Senate set up a Committee to look into the allegations made against Dr. Efemini. 
UPDATE: This report is followed by an update. To view, please click here.