Some journalists who were part of the governor’s convoy told PREMIUM TIMES that over 200 vehicles including commercial and private cars were held up at the entrance of Damaturu town at about 9 p.m.
Governor Babagana Zulum was, however, not in the convoy, which was said to be travelling to Gombe where it would be joined by the Borno governor for a tour of Southern Borno.
“Sir. please this is to inform you that presently military at Damaturu entrance from Maiduguri have closed and blocked the highway not allowing motorists entrance into Damaturu since 3-4 pm. Over 200 heavy and small private and commercial vehicles are stranded. Some are going for Xmas in Gombe, Yola, Kani, Kaduma, Abuja, Jos and others. Even Gov Zulum convoy is now stranded on the road in Damaturu. We learnt that intelligence said BHTs said they will enter Damaturu from Gashau axis but the military has not made any explanation yet. People helpless and afraid of being attacked by BHTs from the bushes at worst without any security with them. Govs Press Crew and Correspondents Chapel of NUJ are also on the convoy. Thanks. Please help these innocent motorists and passengers,” one of the journalists in the convoy wrote in a message to PREMIUM TIMES.
Another traveller, Bulama Shettima, who is also stranded on the road, said they have been there since 3.00 p.m. on Sunday.
“We arrived this place since 3.00 p.m. and realised that the road is closed by the soldiers. They did not give us any explanation until we started getting information that Boko Haram are trying to attack Damaturu,” Mr Shettima said.
“My question is how are we safe staying here on this road. It’s risky for us. Can the soldiers protect us sleeping on this road,” he said on Sunday night.
A commercial driver, Abdullahi Shehu, travelling to Kaduna via Kano said most of his passengers, including children and their parents. are travelling for Christmas.
“It’s very obvious that we are going to sleep here with little children. Many of my passengers are going for Christmas and look at what has happened now. I just pray for Allah’s protection on us on this road,” the driver, who identified himself as Shehu, said.