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 17, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Various Institutions

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On May 17, 2022, Nigerian soldiers reportedly fired live ammunition in an apparent attempt to disperse university students protesting an ongoing faculty strike.

On February 14, the Academic Staff Union Universities (ASUU) started a strike over a number of issues, including the payment of academic allowances and the revitalization of public universities. The strike effectively forced several universities to close indefinitely.

Starting on May 16, students from various local universities barricaded the Ilesha Akure highway to call on the government to address the ASUU’s demands so universities can reopen.

On May 17, students continued their demonstration on the Ilesha Akure highway. Soldiers traveling on the highway approached and asked the students to clear the road. When students refused to clear the road, soldiers fired their guns in the air. Once students fled, soldiers cleared the barricade from the road; available video and still images show students’ protest materials and audio equipment strewn across the side of the road. No injuries were reported.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by the use of live ammunition in an apparent effort to disperse nonviolent student protesters. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and safety, they should also exercise restraint and ensure that their actions are proportionate and do not endanger students.