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Monguno-Maiduguri highway is a ‘death trap’

15 March 2023
Reading time: 3 minutes

After another killing last week on the Monguno-Maiduguri highway, traders, drivers and passengers say they are terrified of using the road because they fear it will be their turn next to get attacked and they will end up dead.

They described the road as a death trap.

Mallam Bukar Marte told RNI reporter Musa Shettima that he was a trader who regularly used the road, which was not only in a bad condition but it was also where there were frequent attacks by insurgents who came out of the bushes on the side of the road.

“Last week on Tuesday a driver was killed on the highway. His corpse was covered with grass and later transported to town. It was a scary sight.”

He said drivers had to pass about 180km of bush along the road and many people had been attacked and killed on that stretch of road.

“I’m forced to use the road because I’m a trader and I buy and sell goods in Monguno and Maiduguri. Every journey I take I am scared I won’t make it.

“Many more people used to use the road but now there are far fewer. Even some traders have stopped using it. And, because of that, people cannot find what they need in Monguno anymore.

“The government needs to provide security. They must bring in the army, police and vigilantes because we are terrified of being attacked. Too many people have died on that road already. We pray to the Almighty on every trip we take.”

Marte said the frequent attacks were crippling people’s businesses.

“It’s so bad that I am even considering closing my business. I might be forced to start begging.”

Muhammad Abubakar, a driver, said most of his colleagues had stopped using the route because of all the people who had been wounded and killed on the road.

“You never know what will happen on that road. One day there are no insurgents and you are safe, the next day they are attacking you. After our fellow driver was killed last week, I stopped using that route.

“Some of us now go via the Mafa Local Government Area, others via Jimtilo. Quite a few have stopped driving altogether and have started small businesses in Maiduguri.”

Abubakar said he was tired of constantly being on the lookout for insurgents.

“Once before, a few of us were attacked on the road. The insurgents captured us and made us walk a very long way into the bushes. Some of us were there for just a while and we managed to escape. But others are still captives in the bushes. We don’t know if they are dead or alive.”

“Our colleague who died last week was transporting passengers. When he saw the insurgents he tried to escape but they shot and killed him. The insurgents attack at least three times a week. You just never know when or where. We have even seen some of them at the village markets.

“We are pleading with the government to beef up security on the road. We are losing money and even our jobs because we are so frightened. It will just get worse if the government does not intervene soon.”


About the author

Aisha Sd Jamal