Ali Must Go. Eight Students Reportedly Gunned Down

 The students went on a rampage and about eight of them were reportedly gunned down in Zaria.
How Nigerian soldiers killed students during 'Ali Must Go' protest

Nigerian students protesting (OnoBello)

40 years ago, Nigerian students staged a protest that till today remains the mother; of all Aluta in the country.

It was a nationwide agitation that brought the National Union of Nigeria Students (NUNS); into an open confrontation with the Olusegun Obasanjo led Military government; and the stern looking men of the Nigerian Army.

The bloody episode which popularized the power of Nigerian students started in April 1978; when the government asked the students to make more contributions; by adding 50K to their cost of meal per day.


The increment meant that their cost of meal would rise from N1.50 to N2.00.

The then Minister of Education, Ahmadu Ali was at the centre of the matter; until everything collapsed on his head.

How Nigerian soldiers killed students during 'Ali Must Go' protest 

The former Minister of Education; Ahmadu Ali was believed to have caused the protest that got many; students killed by the army. (Pointblanknews)

Following the announcement, which didn’t go down well with the  National Union of Nigeria Students; Segun Okeowo, the then president of the union made a move to address the issue.

The students held a meeting in Maiduguri, Ilorin and finally in Calabar; before taking a bold step to challenge the military government on the increment.

All along, Ali was trying to make the students believe that the increment was made; by the Supreme Military Council and not by the Ministry of Education.

However, when the NUNS realized the government was not willing to reverse its decision; they resorted to demonstration and that was the moment things began to fall apart.

How Nigerian soldiers killed students during 'Ali Must Go' protest

Segun Okeowo led the Ali Must Go protest in April 1978 (The Nation)

And the Police fired the first shot

The first day of the protest brought the students; and the Police face to face at the University of Lagos (UNILAG). A student was fired in the leg and bled to death because; Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); and Orthopedic hospital, Igbobi refused to treat him.

That infuriated Okeowo, the national students union president who immediately sent; a  message to his counterparts at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Ibadan; and other Federal Universities.

The students’ protests escalated and for over a week, they engaged themselves; in an open confrontation with the Police and the Army.

Ahmadu Bello University ranked the best varsity in  Nigeria 

Ahmadu Bello University Gate (Premium Times)

Touched by the incident the student shot dead by the police in UNILAG, the students; went on a rampage; and about eight other students were; reportedly gunned down; in Zaria by Nigerian soldiers.

The murder of the students caused more problems for the government; as the students refused to be; cowed by the gun-wielding murderers; sent to put the situation under control.

The protest slogan, ALI MUST GO rent the air as the Minister of Education was believed to be; the cause; of the crisis that led to the students’ deaths.


UNILAG Gate (Toptennigeria)

After one week of the nationwide protest, the Federal Government shut down all universities; and students were advised; to leave the campus.

The Segun Okeowo led students union and the ALI MUST GO saga remains a notable students; led aluta in Nigeria.

In fact, the history of students unionism in Nigeria will largely be incomplete; without mentioning Segun Okeowo and the infamous protest that demonstrated; the strength of Nigerian students.