Nigerian motorists have identified about ten most insecure and dangerous roads across the country, as travellers continue to face abduction and armed robbery on the roads.
Those who spoke to SaharaReporters lamented that deadly attacks on major roads had increased.
A motorist in Niger State, Sarki Ahmed, identified the Birnin-Gwari and Abuja-Kaduna roads as flashpoints for gruesome activities of kidnappers and armed robbers.
“The situation now in Niger State is terrible,” Ahmed told SaharaReporters. “The Birnin-Gwari Road is the most dangerous in the North-West for now, and that is the road that connects from Niger to Kaduna. Bandits have their branch on that road. Immediately they stop cars, they kidnap people, and they are still doing that.
“The villages in the Mariga Local Government Area have been taken over by bandits. People who have farms in those places are under much pressure. The bandits look at a farm. They know the worth of the farm. They have informants in town. They go to look for the farm owners. If they know that the produce is worth N3 million when harvested, they insist on collecting N1 million before the owner of the farm will be allowed to work on the farm.”
Another motorist, Kazeem Ahmed, identified the Minna-Birnin Kebbi, Kaduna-Kano and Sokoto-Gusau roads as the most insecure.
“The bandits were earlier interested in cows. They rustle cows and collect millions of naira from selling the cows. Now, they are interested in kidnapping people who travel. When they kidnap you, they collect between N6 million and N7 million as ransom. It is in Katsina that they would be asking for N500,000. The least they ask for in this part is N5 million for a person.”
Festus Eze, a motorist and resident of Kano State, said he had witnessed the banditry along the Abuja-Kaduna and the Lokoja-Okene roads.
“Honestly, the roads are terrible and unsafe,” Eze said. “We had just passed Tafa, Niger State, along the Abuja-Kaduna road, when about ten people came out from the bush to attack us. They started shooting at us.
“They first shot at our tyres, and then the fuel tank so that the petrol started leaking. They were shooting sporadically at the car. It was just God that saved us. One of the bullets passed through my door and injured my back.
“Once they got our tyres deflated, they probably used our car to block the road, and as people were coming, they would be stopping them and selecting those they wanted to kidnap,” he recalled.
“What complicates the issue is that the criminals stand at the bad portions of the roads. So you cannot speed away,” another motorist noted.
Other motorists, who spoke with SaharaReporters, identified the Jalingo road in Taraba State, Keffi-Jos Road in Plateau State, Keffi-Lafia Road in Nasarawa State and Benin-Ore road as very dangerous for travellers.
Other notorious roads include Akure-Owo-Akoko, Ondo-Owena, and Yenagoa-Port Harcourt roads.
Apart from crimes, road accidents also are common on these roads, due to the slow pace or outright lack of repair.
The Federal Road Safety Corps, in its annual report, pointed out that between January to December 2017, over one thousand people died of road accidents.
The corps also recorded about 1,770 victims of road accidents in 2019 and from January to September this year, about 738 deaths in road accidents.
Reports have shown that the bad state of the roads has enabled kidnappers and armed robbers to carry out their nefarious activities.
Here is a list of the roads:
1. Birnin-Gwari road, Niger State
4. Minna-Binin, Kebbi state
8. Jalingo road in Taraba
9. Keffi-Jos road, Plateau State
10. Keffi-Lafia road in Nassarawa state
14. Yenogoa – Port Harcourt
15. Damaturu – Maiduguri road
16. Kaduna-Zaria road
20. Okene-Auchi road
21. Benin-Warri-Port Harcourt road
22. Asaba – Benin road
23. Kaduna-Birni Gwari-Mokwa-Jebba road
24. Okene-Ayingba-Idah road
SaharaReporters, New York