Bloodshed at Nigerian university

November 17, 1995

The Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria's largest higher education establishment, has been closed following the murder of Bamidele Bandipo, director of the university's teaching hospital.

Angry workers belonging to the local branch of the Medical and Health Workers' Union of Nigeria assassinated Professor Bandipo, who was chairman of the medical directors of all the university teaching hospitals in the country.

They went into the clinic while he was attending patients, demanding the payment of arrears of wages and allowances, which were several months overdue.

When Professor Bandipo promised to pay as soon as the money became available, the workers dragged him out of his office, beat him and attacked him with knives. He was put inside the boot of a car. His attackers then took him into the university mortuary, dumped him and destroyed the cooling system so that his corpse decomposed rapidly.

Daniel Saro, the university's rector, ordered its closure. Students who had completed their examinations were told to vacate their hostels immediately. The rest were allowed to remain until after they had taken their last papers.

Professor Saro then went into hiding. Recently a small group of student activists and university employees had called for his immediate dismissal. Professor Saro apparently feared that his critics might follow the hospital workers' example, and murder him too.

"We wish to state in very emphatic and unequivocal terms that there is no security whatsoever on our university campus. All we have is anarchy and lawlessness," declared grief-stricken Damsa Justin Terris, secretary general of the students' union. More than 40 members of the union will be charged with murder.

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