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: November 12, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Calabar

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 12, 2023, unidentified gunmen abducted Patrick Egaga, a professor of Special Education at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), from an on-campus staff dormitory.

During the abduction, the gunmen used a nearby river to quickly take Egaga away. Local police announced that they were working to secure his release. According to reports, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 50 million naira (about $33 USD).

Egaga was released on December 8, 2023. It is unclear where he was held and whether the ransom was paid.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the abduction of faculty members from campus. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of university 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.

Sources:
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)
https://crossriverwatch.com/2023/11/unical-professor-of-special-education-patrick-egaga-kidnapped/
https://punchng.com/police-confirm-kidnap-of-unical-director/
https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/11/gunmen-kidnap-unical-professor-in-calabar/
https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/12/unical-professor-regains-freedom-after-26-days-in-captivity/
https://www.vanguardngr.com/2023/09/unical-vc-receives-panel-report-against-prof-ndifon-on-alleged-sexual-harassment/