Nigeria Table of Contents
Since 1962, when students prevented the government from signing the Anglo-Nigerian Defense Pact, they have played an active role in influencing government actions. From the 1970s on, they have engaged in violent protests and riots that have sometimes resulted in fatalities. The grounds for these riots have ranged from narrow concerns, such as unacceptable dining facilities and boarding conditions, to broader national issues, such as the removal of government subsidies on petroleum products, the SAP, and repressive government. Since 1977 no year has passed without one university or other institution of higher learning being closed because of violent student protests. The most dramatic were the 1978 "Ali must go" riots, in which all universities in the country protested a rise in the costs of university education; and the 1989 anti-SAP riots, which claimed many lives.
Student activities were coordinated nationally by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), which has operated underground since its proscription in 1986. Every institution of higher learning had a student union. Until 1986, when the Justice Mohammad panel recommended voluntary membership as a way to check student protests, membership in student unions was compulsory. There were several other student associations, such as voluntary groups and religious associations, which also articulated students' interests.
Data as of June 1991