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: February 28, 2014

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):College of Education in Amadawa

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

The College of Education in Hong, Adamawa State closed on Friday February 28, 2014, in response to threats by members of Boko Haram to attack the school.
On February 12, five letters purportedly written by members of Boko Haram arrived at the college, threatening students and leading many to vacate the campus.  Some two weeks later, the provost of the college, Dr Johnson Pongri, confirmed the closure in a news conference in Yola, saying the move was based on the advice of the military task force in the area.  Students were directed to go home and were seen hurrying off campus with their bags.
Boko Haram, whose name translates as “western education is forbidden,” is a militant Islamist group operating in northeastern Nigeria.  It has a history of targeting educational institutions as part of an insurgency, seeking to overthrow the government’s rule in the region.  The group is allegedly responsible for numerous recent attacks and threats throughout Nigeria, including an attack on a boarding school in Buni Yadi in which 59 children were killed, and an attack on a girls’ school in Bama, killing 47.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent threats against higher education communities. Such actions are clearly aimed at destroying the very intellectual freedom that thrives in a healthy, safe university space. Thus, these threats harm not only the immediate victims, but the society in general, chilling academic freedom and undermining the ability of higher education communities to serve their educational, research and social functions.