By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Suspected earth tremor in parts of Bayelsa and Rivers States, has caused palpable apprehension among residents of the affected communities in the two oil-rich states.
Residents of the areas noted that the tremor caused serious cracks on the walls of their buildings though no injury was reported.
It was learnt that in some of the impacted communities such as Igbogene and Akenfa in Bayelsa as well as Akinima, Akie-Oniso (Oruama), One Man Country and Mbiama – neighbouring communities in Rivers, many people who experienced it were yet to recover from the trauma.
There were heavy vibrations that lasted for some minutes during the incident which was said to have started at about 12 midnight.
An earth tremor , Wikipedia says, is the perceptible shaking of the surface of the earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.
It adds that a tremor could be violent enough to toss people around and destroy whole cities.
Nigeria reportedly experienced tremors in 1933, 1939, 1964, 1984, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2009 in various parts of the country.
A retired Principal and landlord in Igbogene, Bayelsa State, Chief Etekpe Friday, described the experience as “frightening”.
“We were about to go to bed when I heard a heavy vibration. I thought it was something else so I quickly went into prayers,” the 60-year-old man stated.
Another resident, Victor Idieto, described the earth tremor as a kind of earthquake.
He said, “in fact, there was a kind of earthquake, very serious quake that lasted for some minutes.
“At first, I thought it was armed robbers that were removing my roof, so I started shouting, ‘armed robbers, armed robbers’, only to realise that others had similar experience.”
At Akie-Oniso(Oruama) in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, a resident, Paul Kio, said the tremor caused a serious crack in his building.
“This vibration was something unpredictable, look at the cracks on my wall,” Kio explained.
Also Paul Harrison, who hails from Delta State, but resides in the area, said it was the fourth time the incident had taken place, vowing to take his family away from the community if another occurred.
The story was the same at Akinima, headquarters of the LGA. A house wife, Animason Emeka-Mark, pointed out that she had a traumatic feeling throughout the fateful night.
“Everywhere was shaking. It was something else. I thought the world had come to an end,” she said.”
Officials of the environment based non-governmental organisation, Environmental Right Action and Friends of the Earth in Nigeria, Bayelsa State chapter, who were also on an assessment tour of the affected areas said that was not the first vibration experienced.
ERA coordinator in Bayelsa, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said the last occurrence took place two years ago in Freetown, Ikarama 1 & 2 in Okordia clan in Yenagoa LGA.
He said that though what could have triggered the tremor had yet to be established, some indigenes and environmentalist had linked it to intense seismic and oil exploration activities undertaken by multinational companies in the area over the years.
Morris, therefore, called on the government and relevant agencies to look into the incident with a view to ascertaining the real cause and prevent future occurrences to avert any disaster.
Residents of Saki in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State had last month also reported such quakes in their communities including, Medinat, Veterinary and Ogbooro areas of the town.