News The African Way

Earth Tremor In Kaduna: Community Confused, Worry Over Safety

By Iliya Kure
imageKaduna (Nigeria) — For three weeks at a stretch, residents of Tudun Wada area of Ikara Town in Kaduna State, northern Nigeria have for the first time experienced earth tremor. They heard a strange sound coming from beneath a rock located in the area, leading to cracks on the rock, affecting their houses.

A housewife, Zainab Abdullahi, whose house is at the base of the rock, told a team of visiting investigative journalists that the loud sound was heard at about ten o’clock in the night.

She said, “We were seated in the compound when we heard a loud explosion sound, even our buildings shook. The well in the compound was closed, but opened by itself as a result of the loud sound.

Residents of the compound were scared and couldn’t sleep, “we stayed awake out of fear of the continuous sound emanating from the rock.” Said Zainab.

Her neighbour, Halima Nasiru who corroborated her statement said “We were in the compound one evening when it happened. We run outside and when people saw us, they asked us what happened and we told them the rock made another sound.

“So the youths turned around to see what happened. They were on top of the rock when it started vibrating before making another sound with smoke coming out of it and they all ran for safety.

“We stopped experiencing this after some time now. But the unfortunate thing is the crack on the walls of our houses as a result of the loud sound. As it is now, with any strike the houses here can fall,” she said.

The first explosion occurred in the night of 10th May, and residents of the area went out that night to take a closer look with the hope of unravelling what happened. They couldn’t figure out anything, until the following morning when Aminu Na Dare Abubakar took a closer look at the rock that he noticed some cracks.

The vibration not only caused cracks on the rock but also nearby houses, and forced some close-by residents to flee the area – it sent fears among community members “because the whole thing looked like a movie,” said Abubakar.

“That was why I immediately called to inform the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area. The vibration continues for days before it stopped. But it affected majority of the houses located closed to the rack as they all have cracks in there walls”.

The vibration was experienced again days later, around 4 pm.

Village Head of Hayin Magina where the rock was located, Umaru Garba confirmed the incident and said they will abide with the government decision on relocating people closed to the rock if that will be the solution.

“When I heard about the explosion at the rock I immediately sent my officials to the site to see what is happening. They later came back to inform me that it was the rock that made that laud sound.

“It was the first time we heard such a sound coming from that rock which only God knows the reason for it because people nearby were all scared. This is why we want the government to take decision so as to avert disaster in the area,” he said.

According to him, the community is yet to be briefed on what actually happened – they are still waiting for explanation form government, adding that, if evacuating the people close to the rock is the solution they will abide by it.

“The people’s safety is paramount in this kind of situation so we are appealing to government to help before it became something bad,” he said.

A team of scientists comprising of geologists and geophysicists from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria were invited for a preliminary investigation. They confirmed what occurred to be an earth tremor.

Even though nigeria is not in the part of the world where earth tremor occurs, it is on record that this is not the first time it is happening in the country. In fact two earth tremors were recorded in Bayelsa and Oyo States in June 2016 alone – with the Ikara incident in May, the country has recorded three in the year.

Other literatures suggest that earth tremor cases were recorded in the country in 1939, 1963, 1984, 1990, 2000, 2006 and 2009 (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227304964_A_review_of_earthquake_occurrences_and_observations_in_Nigeria).

According to the document, previous work had shown that parts of Nigeria contains fracture zones that indicates a litho-structural break fault zone, which is one of the major and perhaps the longest longitudinal feature within precambrian basement complex of Nigeria.

“It extends northwards to Zungeru and beyond to Kalangai in Northwestern Nigeria.

Studies have shown that there is the possibility of a link between this fracture zones and the Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean.

A document on the Ikara earth tremor findings, signed by Professor K.M. Lawal and Dr Aminu A. Lawal of Geology and Physics, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, suggested “a possible up welling and movement of materials from the surface.

“There is therefore the need to carry out integrated geophysical, geological and remote sensing investigations of the suspected fracture zones to determine the true nature of crustal movements in the area and its possible link with other mega structures such as the Atlantic fracture system.

“This is important in order to infer early warning signs from a lager disaster which might occur in future.

“The duration of this exercise is expected to last for a month and will involve delineating the fractures using radar imageries covering the area, running geophysical traverses in some locations within the area using electrical resistivity imaging and detailed geologic investigations to determine the structural trends,” the experts said in the document.

Head of Agriculture and Natural Resources, of the Local Government Area, Mohammed Nasiru said, as soon as they got information, they rushed and immediately called on experts who conducted survey and came up with a report “and it was that report that we used, coupled with what we gathered from the community and submit a letter to the Governor for proactive measures to avert any loss or occurrence.

When asked whether the incidence has relationship with climate change, Mohammed said, “Yes it is as a result of climate change, that this things are happening. One, there is sunshine, humidity, precipitation and at the end of the day it will culminate into even movement of the earth. So it has a prominent role. And you know what is happening in climatic issue of this country, there is temperate, other things that encourages the disarray of biological equilibrium of the climate within the community.

Mohammed believes that what happened is an indication that the rock harbours some solid minerals within it, “the reaction is a clear sign of solid minerals imbedded within the rock.”

Residents of the area told the journalists that about 25 years ago, some white men do visit the area and take photos of the rock.

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