By Paul Efiong Abuja
A coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, Urban-Rural Environmental Defenders, U-RED, and Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF have called on stakeholders to support and cooperate with the ministerial committee set up by the federal government to investigate among other things the cause of the earth tremor which recently occurred in some parts of FCT, Abuja.
This is just as it commended the FCT minister for banning rock blasting and other related activities in FCT.
In a joint statement issued in Abuja and signed by URED Executive Director, Godspower Martins, the NGOs disclosed that “about six times separate earth tremors occurred at Mpape and Durumi communities, a suburb of Abuja and parts of Bwari Area Council also in Abuja at intervals of 3pm – 4pm, 5pm – 6pm and 8pm – 10pm respectively and three times between 5am – 8am on 7th September, 2018, which left residents apprehensive and searching for safety.
The groups said it came two years after another tremor happened at Kwoi, on Saturday 10th and early hours of Monday morning 12th, September 2016 at Sambang Dagi communities both in Jeba Local Government Area of Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.
According to them, “apart from natural factors, we cannot completely disassociate the reason from indiscriminate rock blasting with crude technologies in and around residential communities by quarry companies over the years in the affected communities and Abuja in general.
“In our facts finding mission to the scene of the incident, Urban-Rural Environmental Defenders (U-RED) and Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) team discovered that the two majorly affected communities (Durumi and Mpape) are host to about 11 rock blasting quarry companies out of which, five are presently operational while the others are not.
“Baba Ali Mohamed, Kirbiru, Tunde and all the residents we had a chart with spoke with one voice that the endless blasting of rocks with crude technologies must be responsible for the earth-shake.
They made it clear that each time the destructive energy is applied, it shakes the earth to its foundation leaving cracks in buildings, shattering of windows and falling of buildings in some cases and described the situation as very worrisome, unsafe trend which, if allowed to continue unabated, Abuja may one day go down the bottom of the earth from earthquake and landslide.
They warned that a tremor could be violent enough to destroy a whole city at a time.
The groups therefore called on the federal government to use any available legal means to tackle the issue of indiscriminate rock blasting and ensure full implementation of the committee’s reports.
“We have enough already in our hands as a nation; we are battling with insecurity, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, hunger, ethno-religious crises, etc. we cannot afford to add this avoidable imminent environmental danger to the chain of the already more than enough troubles we have at hand. We must not wait to respond only when it has happened,” the NGOs said.