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More Universities Closed As Student Unrest Spreads

May 28, 1986

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ A bloody clash between students and police at Nigeria’s largest university has sparked student protests nationwide and shut down six of the country’s 15 campuses, radio stations reported.

The violence broke out Friday on the campus of Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria about 45 miles from the northern city of Kaduna.

On Monday, the bodies of another four students reportedly were found there, bringing to 19 the number reported killed since the clash between students and armed police.

The university, this West African nation’s largest with 17,000 students, was closed indefinitely.

State-controlled Kaduna Radio said Tuesday night that Bayero University in Kano in northern Nigeria had been closed indefinitely following a boycott of lectures by students ″in sympathy with their Ahmadu Bello University counterparts.″

″Also closed down is the University of Sokoto (in northwest Nigeria). The closure followed an emergency meeting of the university senate. ... The police have been drafted to guard the institution’s campuses,″ the radio said.

Lagos Radio reported Tuesday that the University of Benin in Bendel State in southern Nigeria had been ordered closed by the university senate.

Radio Nigeria had earlier reported that rampaging students from the University of Ile Ife broke into a prison at Ife in southern Nigeria 100 miles northeast of Lagos on Tuesday and freed an unspecified number of inmates.

Radio Nigeria said the Ile Ife students overpowered prison guards and got into the prison yard but were chased out when armed police arrived.

The radio later said the government had closed the universities of Ile Ife and Ibadan. The police stations at the two universities were reported burned down on Monday.

The bodies of four female Ahmadu Bello students were found in a dormitory Monday by a search party of lecturers and students who followed trails of blood through the campus, said Dr. Abdulahi Mahadi, chairman of the university’s academic staff union.

On Friday, the death toll was put at four, and 11 more students have been reported since then to have succumbed to wounds inflicted by police gunfire. It is not known why the police used guns.

Apparently, school authorities were angered over a student protest march last month which went through both the male and the female sections of the sexually segregated dormitories.

They subsequently ordered the student union’s chairman and spokesman suspended.

Students have been protesting against a shortage of teachers and textbooks, and the lack of jobs for graduates.

Nigeria has been under military rule since a coup Dec. 31, 1983, ousted the elected civilian government of President Shehu Shagari.

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