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: September 28, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Kogi State University

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 28, 2021, armed men kidnapped Kogi State University Professor John Alabi outside of his apartment. 

Reports indicate that unidentified gunmen detained and kidnapped Alabi as he was returning home to his apartment in the evening. The perpetrators contacted the professor’s wife and the university management demanding N$20 million ransom in exchange for Alabi’s release. 

On October 3, university management and local police confirmed that Alabi had been released the previous evening. It is unclear whether a ransom was paid.

The September 28 incident appears to fit a pattern of attacks and kidnappings targeting higher education communities in Nigeria. Sources have frequently described groups of “bandits” kidnapping students and/or faculty in pursuit of seeking ransom (see reports here, here, and here).

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction of a higher education faculty member. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of higher education faculty and students, including by investigating and holding perpetrators of such acts responsible, in line with international human rights standards. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, patterns of abductions of faculty and students undermine the conditions needed for the meaningful exercise of the right to education and academic freedom.