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: May 21, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Kashim Ibrahim College of Education | Umar Ibn Ibrahim El Kanemi College of Science and Technology

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 27, 2021, police reportedly fired tear gas at Kashim Ibrahim College of Education (KICOE) and Umar Ibn Ibrahim El Kanemi College of Science and Technology (UIIECEST) students during a protest over housing accommodations.

Students alleged that since May 10, they had been denied appropriate accommodations, despite paying for housing — that bedrooms were overcrowded and a number of students had been locked out of the residences and were forced to sleep in classrooms or outside.

At the May 27 protest, police reportedly fired tear gas at students, injuring six. Some students reportedly threw tear gas canisters back at the police. Police reportedly arrested three students.

After the protest, in agreement with KICOE and UIIECEST, the Ministry of Higher Education closed the two universities for two weeks.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the use of force against students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting student-led protest activity, so long as it is nonviolent and responsible. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, force intended to restrict student expression undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).