Fayemi Wants End to Indiscriminate Drilling of Boreholes

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, has advised against the indiscriminate drilling of boreholes in the country, saying the practice is detrimental to the well-being of the environment.

Speaking at the opening of a seven-day professional development training on water well drilling in Soft Rock environment organised by the Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) and the Geocardinal Engineering Services Limited in Calabar, Fayemi said it was unfortunate that that has become an all comers’ affair.

According to him, “Borehole drilling companies are springing up everyday with boreholes drilled without recourse to laid-down rules and regulations. This has led to abortive boreholes and huge losses of resources by government, companies and individuals as well as dashed the hope of communities.”

The minister who was represented at the event by the Federal Mines Officer in Cross River State, Okhuoya Onah, said COMEG has the mandate to control the training of mining engineers, geoschienties, hydrologists and a host of others.

He said the training which was for stakeholders in the fields is to ensure professionals engaged in ground water development and make relevant stakeholders understand the rules, regulations and requirements of ground water development.

President of Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Prof Silas Dada, said there was need to check the proliferation of quacks coming into the industry.

Dada said with the way boreholes are drilled all over the place, the obstruction rate would be too high and it would have a major pressure problem on the environment.

“When drilling of boreholes is anyhow, there are issues. You must drill correctly. When you are dealing with quacks, they would not do correct geophysical study, and then, the job is wrongly done leading to consequences. Disaster can happen at any time without expertise,” he stated.

He said Nigerians living wherever such quackery is not applied is at risk from water from boreholes by such unprofessional job.

Chairman, Council of Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG), Godspwer Okpoi, also said: “For instance, when it comes to borehole drilling, there is supposed be a form of spacing between where you have the sewage storage and where the borehole is drilled. If you have quacks, there may not comply and the sewage would slip into your drinking water. But a professional would not have that kind of problem.

“COMEG is trying in its way to stop quacks. We are doing what we can to ensure that only licenced people can drill. We would still do more. You have to be COMEG registered to drill.

“Sometimes we have contracts being advertised, but if it’s not stated that whoever comes should have COMEG registration, then it becomes a problem because we have registered those that are professionals.”

Also, Project Consultant, with Geocardinal Engineering Services Limited, Titi Adeyemo, said: “There are so many technicalities involved and expertise must be observed. That is why COMEG deems it fit that a lot of problems like these are coming up and they have to put up this kind of training for the stakeholders to improve.”