How I Became A Successful Female Truck Driver – Halima

How I Became A Successful Female Truck Driver - Halima

Halima Hassan is a multiple award winning Nigerian female truck driver. In this thrilling interview with MMS Plus, she reveals how she began her career in truck driving, the loads of awards, accolades as well as the challenges. Enjoy it:


Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Halima Hassan. I’m from Plateau State, Shandan Local Government Area. The home of several military generals amd the current Governor.


Why didn’t you dream of going into military service?

When I was growing up I actually had the dream of joining the armed forces but my father didn’t want that career path for me. He was an ex-military officer, so he knew enough about the military service to advise me otherwise.


A good number of military officers advise their children not to join the armed forces, what could be responsible for this?


When in our family, my father didn’t exert so much power on me because his juniors were also very influential. I recall that when I was about 17 years old and we were in Warri;. his junior brother came from Bauchi and he took me back to the village.


At what age did you start driving?

I started driving at 35.


What’s your academic background?

It’s just secondary school.


When did you get married?

Well, I got married at 18 years. So, I started this job long after I married.


During your years in secondary school, what was the career you really wanted to achieve?


I’m a footballer. I’ve always had passion for football and always wanted to be a professional one. I played the role of a striker, precisely a number 9.


Tell us your story about how you became a truck driver?

Several years ago, I was in Obajana selling food when I saw a woman, Hajia Radiat Abubakar. Hajia Abubakar is from Katsina State and she was a truck driver.

There was a man called Nakande, he was the one who called me to see the woman driving a truck. He said if this woman is driving a truck why can’t you do it? It was like a joke but I said to myself, if this woman could actually drive truck; “wallahi, I’ll also do it.”

I was there with several other people and I had some new N5 notes that I had changed to send to my mother so she could give to my children for school. I was doing this when Hajia Radiat climbed the truck in my presence and I jumped up and started celebrating her. I sprayed her the new notes that I had planned to send to my mother and I also dashed out some of my food. All these was out of excitement because I was so happy to see a woman drive a truck.

At that point, I resolved that if a woman from Katsina could do this, I would also do it. I had lost my father at this time, so I called my uncle and told him that I wanted to become a truck driver. He asked me if I was planning to sign my death ticket, but I insisted that I saw a woman do it and she didn’t die. Initially, he didn’t give his consent because he hung up the phone in anger during the first conversation about this issue.

Some days later, I called again and he discovered that I was serious about the matter. He said that he didn’t want to lose me but I maintained that I wouldn’t die even as I promised that he would be proud of me. He prayed for me, declaring that Allah would protect me and I started my career as a truck driver.

I went to meet the Chairman of truck drivers in the area at that time. His name was Alhaji Uba Zaria. This was in 2012; I told Alhaji Uba Zaria that I wanted to learn how to drive a truck and he linked me with Alhaji Isiyaku. Alhaji Isiyaku was one of the executive drivers and he taught me how to drive.

Within nine months, I was able to learn how to drive and I was given my first truck. It was a Dangote tanker which was coming to Apapa, Lagos to carry fuel to Obajana, Ibeshe and Boko. Dangote later contracted the job to someone else and I decided to go to Dangote cement and started driving Dangote cement trucks.


What did your husband say when you decided to start truck driving?

I had lost my husband before I ventured into driving. It may have been a challenge convincing him to allow me become a truck driver.


What kind of reactions do you get from men who see you drive?

The perception is that this job is meant for men. Honestly, women involved in this business are facing so many challenges. I recall someone once said that anytime he sees me driving my truck, he would make me have an accident. A man said this to me and he meant it because he thinks women are in this profession to challenge men.

I usually drive in mufti because when we encounter armed robbers on the road, they usually strip our uniforms. I wear my uniforms when I’m in the company.


When security agencies, touts and other personnel stop you on the road and see that it’s a woman driving; what reaction do they give?

The military men are very supportive and they make it easier for us to pass. I can’t forget one experience where an Army General recommended that we should join the military. According to him, we would fare better in the military instead of driving trucks.


How many women are drivers in Dangote’s truck fleet?

We are seven women presently. We also have three women under practicals. Cumulatively, we are ten.


On the business side of it, is the job rewarding? How much do you make as a truck driver?

It’s very rewarding because I make enough money to be able to meet my needs and have surplus. It’s better than what I was doing in the past and I earn more respect as a female truck driver. I have built a house, sent my children to school and I have so many people that I cater for, with this job of a truck driver.


I learnt you have also driven outside the country, tell us about the other places you’ve been to with trucks?

I have driven to some West African nation’s like Ghana, Lome and Chad with the Dangote trucks.


How many children do you have and what’s your relationship with them as a female driver?

I have three children, all female. They are all grown up and they are very proud of me, especially my last daughter Nafisat. She is so proud of me and anytime she sees me on a truck, she wants to drive as well.


Cumulatively, how many years have you been in the truck driving profession?

I have been driving for nine years. I have won so many awards among the Dangote fleet. I have won the overall best female driver and the overall best performing driver in female and men categories in Obajana. I have won the fleet’s best driver on two ocassions and I have also won an award from the Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT). I also won another one in Kaduna.

I have also been privileged to feature on a documentary on CNN in 2019 just for my exploits as a female truck driver.


How long do you spend on each trip and how do you manage men in their terrain?

It depends on the distance. For instance, if I have to drive far north like Madagambe in Adamawa. It’s over 3,400km and I’ll have to sleep over. I have my bed inside my truck.

Most times, I’m ashamed to go to a hotel room because when I come out I realize that a lot of people are looking at me. So, I prefer to sleep in my truck. I have a motor-boy who is my son-in-law.


Are there other challenges that you face in the practice of truck driving?

One of the biggest problems is that of bandits on the roads. As women, we also face challenges with offloading the goods on the trucks because some male truck drivers ahead of us wouldn’t want to assist. They would say since we are doing a man’s job, we should also do the offloading. Most times, the depot manager intervenes and helps us.

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