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: January 13, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Federal University of Lafia

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

 On January 13, 2022, a group of unidentified gunmen abducted four students from the Federal University of Lafia, in Nasarawa state.

Sources indicate that, at around 11:30 PM, unidentified gunmen raided a student residence near the university campus and kidnapped the four students. 

Two days later, on January 15, authorities secured the students’ release, with no injuries to the students reported.

The January 15 incident appears to fit a pattern of attacks and kidnappings targeting schools and universities in Nigeria. Sources have frequently described groups of “bandits” kidnapping students and staff in pursuit of seeking ransom (see reports here, here, here, and here).

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction of higher education students. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of 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 victims, such patterns of abductions of students undermine the conditions needed for the meaningful exercise of the right to education and academic freedom.