There has been reports of recent earth tremors experienced in some parts of Abuja which made residents fear for their safety.
Few weeks ago, the director-general of the National Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Alex Nsegbu, said Nigeria is not on the boundary that can make the country suffer earthquake, but a new report by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has identified communities in four states and Abuja as locations where major earthquake may likely occur in the country.
The Director General of NASRDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, disclosed this on the sideline of the second Engr. Brig. Gen. M.O Agu (rtd) Annual Distinguished Lecture in Abuja on Thursday.
Prof. Mohammed, who was also the chairman of presidential committee on the Abuja tremor, said Mpape in Abuja, Kwoi in Kaduna, Ijebu-Ode in Ogun, Shaki in Oyo and Igbogene in Bayelsa may likely be the epicentres of major earthquake if precautions were not taken.
The erstwhile inactive faults system in the country are gradually becoming active, he said, ‘’which now make earthquake likely’’ in and around the country. A number of incidences in these locations, according to him, is also a pointer to the fact that a big disaster may occur there, calling on the Federal Government to do something fast to avert it.
He said analysis of a 100 year-old data done by the members of the presidential committee on Abuja tremor showed that Mpape in Abuja is a hotspot which is highly susceptible to earth tremor and other earth shakeups.
“What it means is that we need a thorough study across the country to identify such hotspots so that we can constantly monitor them from satellite system and from data from outer space’’, he said.
He said the high volume of water being taken out of over 110, 000 boreholes dug in Abuja is further making the situation in the capital city worse. ‘’More than 330 metric tonnes of water being taken out every day in Abuja is causing a vacuum; is straining the earth’’, he said.
He therefore urged the FG to take a look at indiscriminate drilling of boreholes, calling on thorough regulation on earth drilling. He also said engineers should now take cognizance of likely earth tremor when designing and constructing buildings.
Last week, the Presidential Committee on Abuja Tremor said Nigeria was now prone to seismic hazards, which make earthquake occurrence a potential disaster to the country.
The committee disclosed that when it submitted the report of its findings to the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu. ‘’Nigeria is now prone to seismic hazards following recent earthquake occurrences in Kwoi, Kaduna state, Saki, Oyo State and Igbogene in Bayelsa State all in 2016. The latest occurred in September 7, 2018 in Mpape, Abuja’’it said.
It said though ‘’these earthquakes may have been of low-magnitude, it is now certain that earthquake occurrence has become a potential hazards to the nation’’.
The committee alluded to the report conducted by Julius Berger on the geological, hydrological and geotechnical investigation for Abuja which identified Mpape as a Shear zone that is weak with several fractures and faults system.
It added that water extraction and recharge imbalance from aquifer is causing hydrological instability along the fractures. The existence of 110,000 boreholes within Abuja metropolis with about 330,000 metric tonnes of water drilled daily is not suitable, it added.
In view of the challenges that hinder efficient forecasting, detection and monitoring of earthquakes in Nigeria, the Committee recommended the procurement and installation of more seismometers and GPS sensors/equipment for the enlargement and networking of the Nigeria National Network of Seismographic Stations.
The committee further recommended detailed Seismotectonic study using State-of-the-art equipment in the area and the entire country.
– Daily Trust