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: June 16, 2015

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Ambrose Alli University

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On Tuesday June 16, 2015, unknown men reportedly abducted Dr. Paul Erie, Associate Professor of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma (AAU). He was reportedly taken from his residence, in the Igbanke village, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State; police later reported that Dr. Erie had been killed.

In response to the kidnapping, members of the AAU Chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities reportedly held a demonstration, complaining about the frequency of such incidents, and calling on the governor and security agents to take further action to protect members of the university community.

The kidnappers reportedly established communication with Professor Erie’s family and it appeared the kidnappers’ motivations were financial. In October 2015, a spokesperson for the Edo State Police Command indicated that Dr. Erie had been killed by his abductors. Shortly thereafter, Edo State Police Command reported that five of the eight suspects had been arrested.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction and killing of a scholar. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, such incidents may contribute to a climate of fear in the scholar’s higher education community. State authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of higher education communities, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.