On May 9, 2023, gunmen attempted to kidnap students from Plateau State University’s (PLASU) women’s hostel. One student was injured, but university security officers prevented any abduction from taking place.
Some of the attackers also attempted to kidnap a group of female students who had gone off-campus to collect firewood. However, PLASU officers chased the gunmen, allowing the group of students to escape.
This 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 ransom.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the attempted abduction of higher education students. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of scholars, students, and staff, 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, kidnappings that target members of the higher education community undermine the conditions needed for the meaningful exercise of the right to education and academic freedom.