Residents panic over earth tremor in Abuja

FILE PHOTO: Residents panic over earth tremor in Abuja recently.
  • Experts say no cause for alarm as FG investigates

Residents of Mpape, a hilly suburb of Abuja, went into panic following what they described as ‘serious ground vibration’ that lasted from Wednesday afternoon to midnight.
When Daily Trust visited the area yesterday, many of the residents spoken to said they initially thought the vibration was as a result of the usual quarry activity in the area until it persisted.
Mpape, which is few kilometres from Maitama, is home to several quarries.
Residents in Eneje Street, Masafa Road, Berger Quarry and Area One areas in the community said the ground shook intermittently for a long period, raising fears of an earthquake.
“When it started we thought it was normal rock activity. But after a point we realised that it was abnormal,” a resident, Amos Uchenna, said.
He said he was at his shop at Crown Plaza in the community when the two storey building started ‘vibrating.’
“We thought the building wanted to collapse. It happened at about four times when I was at the shop,” he added.
Uchenna said, when he got to his residence at Eneje Street, the vibration continued which made many people afraid of going to bed due to the incidents.
“Later we went to sleep but it happened again. The ground vibrated so much that the ceiling almost came down,” he said.
Another resident, Onyeka Chukwu, said the vibration damaged some goods in his shop.
Chukwu said some gas burners fell and were damaged while the vibration lasted.
“The first time that it happened, I thought it was normal but when it happened again, I was afraid that I almost ran out of the shop. I have been here for seven years, it has not happened like that before,” he said.
Jennifer Roberts however said similar incident happened last week Friday at Masafa Road, adding that the incident on Wednesday happened after a torrential rainfall in the area.
We’re investigating – FG
Commenting on the incidents, the Director Economic Geology at the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr Abdulrazaq Garba said the agency was aware of the vibration at the Mpape hill and had sent a team to pick coordinate/samples from the area for further analysis.
“We may not be able to say anything now; I can assure you that when the team comes back, we will give proper information. Because based on our work, there are some technical things we have to look at to be able say, there was a tremor there. Normally, there are some things that can occur but there must be a scientific interpretation,” he said.
The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also called on residents in the Federal Capital Territory to remain calm over the recent earth shaking which occurred around Mpape and some parts of Maitama districts in Abuja.
FEMA’s Director General Mallam Abbass Idriss, in a statement, said the possible cause of the earth shaking might be as a result of earth tremor.
While advising residents to observe some safety tips when such shakings occur, Idriss said “we are on top of the situation and shall keep them [residents] informed of any development.”
Experts allay fear
A lecturer at the Department of Geology and Mining, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Dr Nghargbu K’tso said there was no cause for alarm.
“Nigeria is on a stable geological spectrum so we are not likely to experience earth quake, but we are likely to experience what we call earth tremor which happens as a result of the strato static balancing of the earth,” he said.
He said the earth tends to readjust adding that earth tremor is the highest to be expected on the West Africa spectrum and not earth quake.
He however said the incident must be a top surface phenomenon happening from the interior of the earth adding that it might not have been caused by quarry activities except where there are underground mining activities.
“There is no cause for alarm. The earth naturally tends to balance itself with the distribution of weight. It is not an earth quake at all, geological survey would have even confirmed that, earth quakes are not expected in this side of the globe,” he said.
He said what is needed is a geophysical survey instead of examining the soil sample.
“When the earth shakes, you do not need soil sample; the only examination you need is geophysical survey. Soil sample is chemistry it cannot tell you why there was a vibration or movement of the earth, instead of soil sampling; I recommend that geophysical survey should be carried out,” he said.
He said such survey would help in understanding the gravity of the tremor and also assist in future planning.
For his part, the administrative secretary of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Silas Dagusa, said the quarry activities in the area could also lead to the tremor.
“It is due to the fact that heavy blasting activities are going on in Mpape and rocks are trying to realign themselves; that is the simplest explanation I can give to a layman,” he said.
He however allayed residents’ fear of an earth quake, saying the rainy season must have contributed to the tremor as the rocks try to realign.


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