Govt urges calm, seeks investigation
‘Six states at risk of earthquakes before 2020’
Fear gripped residents of Southern Kaduna yesterday after two earth tremors shook the ground and buildings but caused no damage.
Urging calm, the Kaduna State government said it had made a formal report to appropriate authorities to investigate and issue appropriate guidance on the development.
Already, experts have warned that six states, Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River and Oyo , could experience earthquakes before 2020.
The Nigerian Association of Water-Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) called on the Federal Government to take measures that could mitigate effects in the vulnerable states.
The two tremors, which occurred while people were in church, were particularly strong in Kwoi town, headquarters of Jaba Local Council of Kaduna State. According to information received in Abuja, the incident left many people confused.
“We initially thought it was a bomb blast. The sound and reverberations were repeated within an hour, sending chills down our spines. We were told they were from the Nok area. But a call there showed it was not so. Please, pray for us,” Taliya Ezra told The Guardian on phone.
An indigene of Kwoi, based in Abuja, confirmed the tremors, but said his enquiries did not show there had been any damage to structures or even the earth surface.
This is the second time tremors would shake parts of Kaduna State this year. On July 30, 2016, Haying Magani in Ikara Local Council of the state was shaken by a light tremor, which destroyed homes and injured people.
According to a statement by Special Assistant to the Governor (Media and Publicity), Samuel Aruwan, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai confirmed that geological and emergency agencies had been notified.
“The governor sympathises with the people in the Kwoi area over the reported tremors. He has directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to mobilise to the area and comfort our citizens. The National Geological Agency has also been notified, and has been invited to investigate the tremors and provide appropriate guidance,” reads the statement in part.
Confirming the incident, the chairman, Caretaker Committee of Kwoi Local Council, Ben Kure, said: “I was in church around 10:30 a.m. when, for about three to five seconds, the first one occurred, shaking the entire town and buildings. We came out from the church and inspected the town. There was no damage or injury. Two hours later, while I was driving to Kaduna, a palace official called to inform me that there had been another tremor. There was also no damage.”
AWDROP, at a press conference addressed by its National President, Michael Ale, lamented that lack of Underground Water Abstraction Regulation in Nigeria could induce earthquakes and sea water intrusion, “hence the need for government to ensure strict compliance in the implementation of the code of practice in borehole drilling.”
Ale said his association had been informed of salt-water intrusion affecting underground water usage and subsidence along the land-ocean boundaries in shoreline areas.
Researchers from the Department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, led by Dr. Adepelumi Adekunle Abraham, had, in a report titled, “Preliminary Assessment of Earth Tremor Occurrence in Shaki Area, Shaki West Local Government, Oyo State”, warned of an impending ‘damaging earthquake’ in the next four years.
Adepelumi’s report states: “After the earth tremor of 2009 in southwestern Nigeria that was felt in several towns and villages in Oyo, Osun and Ogun States, a detailed short-term probabilistic earthquake prediction was carried out by our team. Our findings indicate the probability of earthquake occurrence in the study area between the year 2009 and 2028 increased from 2.8 per cent to 91.1 per cent.”