Borno Bans Cars & All…

Borno Bans Cars & All…

Nigeria has banned all cars, public transport, horses, donkeys and camels in Borno State to prevent an attack by militant group, Boko Haram, over the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. The ban came into effect on Wednesday evening and lasts until Friday.

At a time when most people are felicitating and renewing themselves spiritually, the people of Borno are having to contend with yet more hardship to already difficult lives. So while the headline may read almost medieval, it is the reality for the millions of people living in Borno state.

In spite of recent successes announced by the military, the last few days have been particularly horrendous with scores of civilians losing their lives to the renewed aggression from the dreaded Boko Haram.

But this is a car forum, so let us look at the ban and the practicality of it. The ban is of course exigent, a knee jerk reaction to what must be an overwhelmingly difficult situation. But the governor may have thrown the engine block out with the used oil. Admittedly, cars have been used to devastating effect by the Boko Haram bombers, and the Volkswagen Golf has gained particular notoriety as the car of choice by the terrorists.

While there must be some economic reason for the choice of the VW Golf, the  Volkswagen Golf Mk II was legendary in its time, defining an entire new segment almost by itself, save for the Peugeot 205 GTi which put up a strong showing in that era. The Golf GTI was easily the most anticipated car every four years or so, as the German engineers worked tirelessly to redefine their iconic “hot hatch”. 0446559-Peugeot-205-GTI-1.9-1987

The Golf has since matured – the petrol head, racer boy image long since dispensed with, for a more mature outlook on life. It’s grown bigger too, not the intimate carrier of old. In fact, the hot-hatch moniker can hardly be applied to what has become a “family car”. It is of course more boring, its safer, and frankly, its a place more people would like to be. In other words, its image has stretched to accommodate more demographics.

But back to Boko Haram and our impulsive governor. Like the Golf, common sense must take hold at some point. The ban on cars, donkeys and mules is but a short term panacea. Suicide bombers do not fear arrest. In fact, the ban may prove counter productive, as it is impossible to police every street in the state, and therefore a committed bomber will likely arrive unimpeded at his target with his payload.


Our prayers go out to the people of Borno state.


Ifeanyi Maduka

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