On September 10, 2021, Nigerian authorities violently dispersed students from Kwara State Polytechnic as they engaged in a protest just outside campus.
Students had gathered to demonstrate against what they alleged was a pattern in which security officers would routinely use investigation of local crimes as a pretext for harassment and extortion of students. Security authorities fired tear gas at the crowd, reportedly injuring some protesters.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by state security forces using disproportionate force to disperse students peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct which is expressly protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nigeria is a party. While state security forces have a responsibility to maintain security and safety, they must also refrain from the disproportionate use of force and ensure that their actions are not intended to retaliate against student expression and do not endanger civilians.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).