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 04, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Cross River State University of Science and Technology

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 4, 2021, police reportedly beat students holding a protest over the death of their peer at the Cross River State University of Science and Technology (CRUTECH).

On June 3, a group of three armed men raided CRUTECH, disarming security guards, forcing students out of their residences, and stealing a student’s phone. Ford Moses Nkasi, a CRUTECH alumnus, reportedly ran after the assailants in an attempt to recover his peer’s phone. One of the assailants reportedly stabbed and killed Nkasi.

The following day, students held a protest on campus over the killing of Nkasi on their campus. During the protest, students reportedly locked the main gates of the campus, preventing other students, staff, and faculty from entering or exiting the campus. Police reportedly arrived on campus to quash the protest and beat students participating in the protest.

Following the protest, the Cross River State Government temporarily closed CRUTECH, asking students to vacate the campus in order to carry out an investigation into Nkasi’s death. On June 16, CRUTECH reopened and ordered each student to pay 3,000 Naira for damages to campus property during the protest.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence during a student protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and security, they have an obligation to ensure that their actions are proportionate to the situation and do not endanger protesters. Students likewise have a responsibility to carry out expressive activities peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violence and the use of force in the contest of student protests 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).