They were abducted on a Borno highway, a senior security source said.
He said the commuters were few kilometres away from Maiduguri and were rushing to meet up with the 6pm window allowed for vehicles to get into troubled Maiduguri.
One of those who was lucky not to be abducted told journalists that when they got to Garin Kuturu, they saw a massive fire and initially thought it was bush burning but on getting closer, they realised that a big truck had been set ablaze by hoodlums, many of whom were dressed in military camouflage.
He said it was already too late for some of them as they had already run into the ambush.
The Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, also did not answer calls to his phone and had yet to reply to a text message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.
The bomber reportedly targeted a crowded area in the town, Anadolu Agency reported a local government official as saying.