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: March 15, 2016

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Abia State University

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In March 2016, two undergraduate students, Ebuka Nwaigbo, an Estate Management student and Samuel Ethelbert, a Political Science student of Abia State University were reportedly beheaded, allegedly by members of a cult group, in a hostel located near the university campus. A third student, Umeaforo Chigozirim, was reportedly injured severely and hospitalised. The attack was reported to be a potential act of retaliation in a feud between rival student groups.

Abia State Police Public Relations Officer stated that criminal investigations have started and the State Governor reportedly required that hostel owners regularly audit the identity of their tenants. The Vice Chancellor of Abia State University reportedly called upon parents to discourage students from living in accommodations outside the university campus and underlined that the university is working jointly with security forces to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the killing of and violence against university students. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents may contribute to a climate of fear in the students’ 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.


Cultists behead fellow students, use heads as goalposts

Beheading of students: Ikpeazu orders commercial hostels to conduct identity audit