The National Space Research and Development Agency has identified selected locations in Bayelsa, Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna and Abuja as hot spots for earth tremor.
It also stated that Abuja currently has a major vacuum underground as a result of the excessive drilling of over 110,000 boreholes in the nation’s capital city.
The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, NARSDA, Prof. Seidu Mohammed, disclosed these on the sidelines of the 2nd Brig-Gen. Micheal Agu (rtd) Annual Distinguished Lecture and Conferment of Fellowship Awards organised in Abuja on Thursday by the Nigerian Institution of Space Engineers, a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
On September 6 this year, residents of Mpape, a hilly suburb of Abuja, went into panic following what they described as a serious ground vibration that lasted for several hours.
Commenting on the development, Mohammed said, “In our report to the Minister of Science and Technology we talked precisely about issues involving Abuja earth tremor. Mpape was the epicentre of the tremor that happened between the 5th and 7th of September and what it also means is that the erstwhile inactive fault systems in Nigeria are gradually becoming active.
“In recent times there’s been a number of incidences in several locations. There was one in Shaki, Oyo State; some two years ago we had one in Oyi, Kaduna State and in some other locations. This year it was in Mpape. So from the analysis of the data available to us, Mpape is a hot spot and we need a detailed study of the fault system in Nigeria to identify such hotspots so that we can constantly monitor them.”
Asked whether there were other locations classified as hotspots across the country, Mohammed replied, “Yes there are other hotspots in Nigeria. Don’t forget that in 1984 there was an earth tremor in Ijebu Ode, (Ogun State). Subsequently, there was another in Saki in Oyo State. Two years ago, we had some in Bayelsa and Kaduna. This year, it was Mpape in the Federal Capital Territory.
“And what this means scientifically is that some of the inactive faults are getting active and if they are active, then there is a need for us to study them and in order to advise Nigeria in the event of incidents.”
He further stated that the excessive usage from over 110,000 boreholes in Abuja metropolis was causing a major vacuum underground, adding that there had been so many incidences of tremors in Nigeria in the last 10 years.
Mohammed said, “We are aware that there are over 110,000 boreholes within the Abuja metropolis. What that means is that enormous water is taken out of the storage underground every day, more than 330 metric tonnes on a daily basis. And this volume of water is causing a major vacuum underground.
“The earth is dynamic and these are issues that we need to talk about. The government should take a look at the indiscriminate drilling of boreholes. It should be regulated. In the last 10 years, there have been so many incidences of tremors within Nigeria.”