On February 19, 2018, an unidentified individual wearing an explosive device attempted to attack the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria. No casualties other than the attacker have been reported.
Soldiers guarding the university reportedly spotted the attacker near the wall of the campus at approximately 7:20 pm. The soldiers fired on the attacker, whose explosives immediately detonated, killing him. The identity of the attacker has not been confirmed; however, some media sources suspect that the attack was coordinated by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
This marks the seventh such attack on the University of Maiduguri since January 2017. The previous attacks occured on January 16, May 13, May 18, May 20, June 25 and July 6, 2017.
Scholars at Risk condemns this extreme, targeted, violent attack on the higher education space. Such attacks target the core values of the university, including academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, institutional autonomy, and social responsibility. State authorities have a responsibility to safeguard university values by taking all reasonable steps to ensure the security of higher education communities and their members, including deterring future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards. Scholars at Risk acknowledges the Nigerian government’s efforts to increase security at the university in response to such attacks. Members of society similarly have a responsibility to help safeguard the higher education space, especially following incidents of such gross violence, by pressing demands to State authorities for greater protection and accountability, and by contributing to efforts to understand and reinforce principles of autonomy and academic freedom.