On May 6, 2014, gunmen entered the office of Dr. Godwin Iwatt, a lecturer in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Calabar in Nigeria, and shot Dr. Godwin in the stomach. He lapsed into a coma shortly thereafter, and died ten days later, while being treated in a hospital near the university. As of this report, a police investigation was ongoing, but one student had reportedly been arrested in connection with the shooting after text messages threatening Dr. Godwin were traced to the student’s cell phone.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently targeted killing of a professor. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and freedom of expression in the region. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of academic communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.