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: March 28, 2024

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Calabar

Region & Country:Western Africa | Nigeria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On March 28, 2024, unknown gunmen kidnapped three University of Calabar (UNICAL) students from a hostel on campus.

The gunmen demanded a ransom of N6 million and N8 million for at least two of the students (the equivalent of about $4,700 and $6,300 USD respectively). As of April 3, the students were still missing.

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 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.