Gunmen have abducted students and staff of the Government Science College, Kagara in Niger State.

The attack happened in the early hours of Wednesday, February 17, 2021 according to authorities.

A student trying to escape was killed by the gunmen reported to have been dressed in military uniform.

The Niger State government hours after the incident announced that a total of 27 students were abducted.

Three staff members and 12 members of their families were also abducted at the school located in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello immediately ordered the closure of all boarding schools in Rafi, Munya, Shiroro, and Mariga Local Government Areas of the state during a media briefing just before noon on Wednesday.

The governor said security forces are already on the hunt for the kidnappers to ensure the safe return of the students.

Abductions of school students has become commonplace especially in northern Nigeria where four high-profile abductions of hundreds of students have taken place since 2014.

While hundreds of students have regained their freedom through escapes and ransom deals, many remain in captivity years later.

Bello said on Wednesday that his government would not welcome any ransom demands by the kidnappers.

He said, "It is not our policy as a government to pay bandits, as we have seen and noted that they use the same ransom to purchase arms and ammunition."

President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

The president said he has dispatched service chiefs to Niger to coordinate rescue operations.

"Our prayers are with families of the victims of this attack," the president said.

During plenary on Wednesday, Nigerian senators passed a resolution urging the president to declare a state of emergency on insecurity in Nigeria.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the spate of abductions involving students could impact the desire of parents to send children to school.

"Almost all incidents of abductions of students happen in northern Nigeria. With incidents like this we'll be reversing all the gains made in convincing parents to take their children to school," he said.

Nigeria's history of school abductions

The Kagara abduction is the latest in a string of high-profile attacks on schools in Nigeria, especially in the northern region.

340 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina were similarly abducted by gunmen in December 2020 before they were released a week later after negotiations with the government.

113 schoolgirls were also abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi, Yobe in 2018, but 107 of them were released one month later.

While five of them died in the course of the abduction, the remaining hostage Leah Sharibu remains in captivity.

112 girls also kidnapped in Chibok, Borno in 2014 remain in captivity nearly seven years after 276 of them were taken from their school hostel by Boko Haram terrorists.