BEYOND THE TREMORS IN KADUNA

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The relevant federal agencies should embark on a proper geological survey of the country

The more than a few earth tremors recorded recently in many locations in some local government areas of Kaduna State, which left the residents in a state of anxiety, call for serious concerns on the part of both the state and the federal government. While we should hope for the best, considering how devastating such a tragedy would be should a serious earthquake occur on our shores, it is also important that the authorities begin to prepare for the worst, especially when the tremors, which occurred in Kwoi, Nok and Samban Dagi areas also left over 300 of structures with mild cracks.

Mr. Ishaya Dan-Azumi, a geologist from the Kaduna State’s Ministry of Environment, while explaining to newsmen at one of the sites, had described the incident as a deep-seated fault in the earth crust trying to regenerate itself. Dan-Azumi said that against the wide-ranging assumption that the incident was an earthquake, there was no evidence supporting that claim, adding that it was “just earth tremor.’’

While the geologist may have contradicted himself, apparently in an attempt to ease people’s fear over the frightening incident, the point remains that an earth tremor is another term for an earthquake, although it is most commonly used to describe such occurrences with low intensity.

However, our concern is that since the incidents occurred, there were no known measures taken by the relevant state and federal authorities to ascertain what exactly happened in Kaduna and why. It would seem as if everybody has moved on from that incident which is a dangerous way of handling such situation. That is why we call on the relevant federal agencies to embark on a proper geological survey of the area as well as other such places in Nigeria that have experienced such tremors.

The Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, had appealed for calm, and urged everyone not to spread unverified information, or create panic. Yet, barely two weeks after that incident there were other such earth tremors. That perhaps explains why, despite the state government’s reassurance, some residents of the affected areas still live in fear, apparently because they don’t know when it will happen again.

The government must therefore move very fast to save lives and ease the fear of the residents in the affected communities. The appropriate authorities, especially the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), should also go beyond mere rhetoric and urgently trace the source and cause(s) of the tremors. And they must investigate all other claims of such tremors that we have had, especially this year.

For instance, in June, residents of Saki in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State reportedly experienced an earth tremor that lasted weeks, making many residents to flee. In the same month, suspected earth tremor also occurred in parts of Bayelsa and Rivers States, causing apprehension among residents of the affected communities, after experiencing cracks on the walls of their buildings.

These are warning signals that should not be discounted by the authorities. Beyond that, now that it is becoming evident that our country is not immune to earthquake, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other rapid respond agencies should be put on notice to be prepared at all times. This is because our history of management of disaster is not encouraging. Therefore, it is important for government at all levels – local, state and federal – to step up a series of enlightenment campaigns on how best to respond to such a terrifying incident whenever it occurs.