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: October 08, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Nasarawa State University, Keffi

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 8, 2023, unknown attackers kidnapped Haruna Ayuba Kuje, a professor in Biogeography and Environmental Science and former deputy vice-chancellor at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, from his residence.

Ayuba Kuje was reportedly released on October 10, two days after his kidnapping. It is unclear if a ransom was paid.

This incident appears to fit a pattern of attacks and kidnappings targeting schools and universities in Nigeria. On October 4, 2023, a Katsina militia group abducted five female students, one has been freed and the other 4 are still missing (see report); on September 22, 2023, unknown gunmen abducted 35 students and workers from Federal University, Gusau (FUGUS), 13 of the individuals were released, and two have escaped (see report); on June 16, 2023, a Zamfara militia group abducted five students that were rescued by the Nigerian military two months later (see report). Sources have frequently described groups of “bandits” kidnapping students and staff in pursuit of ransom.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction of a professor. 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.