Abdulrasaq Kamaldeen

On June 24, 2024, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) mourned the loss of Prof. Yusuf Saidu, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation, and Development, who was tragically killed by bandits. 

The attack occurred on the Gusau-Kaduna highway in Zamfara State, north-western Nigeria, while Prof. Saidu was traveling from Sokoto on an official university assignment.

Prof. Yusuf Saidu was a distinguished professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at UDUS. His vehicle, resembling those used by security forces, led the bandits to mistake him for a security officer, resulting in the fatal attack.

University’s Response

In a post on its official Facebook page, the university described Prof. Saidu’s death as a “painful loss” to the academic community. The statement read: “[He was a] man of integrity, religion, dedication, and courage. It is truly a sad day for us at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, and the community at large.”

Persistent Insecurity Despite Government Efforts

Insecurity in Nigeria remains a critical issue, with many innocent lives lost to ongoing attacks. 

According to a report by The Cable, insecurity has been a persistent problem since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, stemming from systemic corruption and historical crises. 

Also, according to ACLED data, between 2019 and 2023, there were 662 recorded kidnapping-related events in the North West, a 169% increase from the 246 events recorded in the North East during the same period.

Human Rights Watch reported that on July 5, 2022, armed men attacked a minimum-security prison in Kuje, near Abuja, resulting in the escape of about 900 inmates, including over 60 Boko Haram suspects. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State West Africa Province, with possible involvement from the Ansaru faction of Boko Haram.

On July 25, unidentified assailants killed six officers of the presidential guard brigade in Bwari, near the Nigerian Law School campus, after receiving threats of an imminent attack.

Public React

The news of Prof. Yusuf Saidu’s death has deeply affected the community and sparked widespread grief and anger.

Zydeen Yusuf expressed his sorrow, saying, “This is a great intellectual and a man of honor that the world of academia benefits from his versatile knowledge. What a huge loss. May Allah forgive his shortcomings and grant him Jannat ul Firdaus.” He lamented the worsening insecurity in Northern Nigeria that continues to claim the lives of brilliant minds, adding, “Is this how we will continue in this country? Especially in the North. We keep losing brilliant minds to terrorists.”

El Yusuf Abu Mujaheed criticized the government’s response to insecurity: “Very sad and unfortunate incident where some set of most useless elements killed and butchered a professional, productive, and hardworking person that shouldered the responsibility of many. Some sets of government officials are seated in Abuja giving useless instructions to the army and police. May God have mercy on us.”


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