Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Indiscriminate borehole drilling cause of Abuja ‘tremor’ – Report


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a 30-year-old graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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A Presidential Committee headed by the Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, NASRDA, Seidu Mohammed, has claimed that indiscriminate drilling of boreholes is the major cause of the earth tremor that shook parts of Abuja earlier this month.

Recall that residents of Jabi, Gwarinpa, Maitama and Mpape districts in the Federal Capital Territory had experienced mild vibration between September 5 and 7, a development that made the federal government to set up a committee to determine the cause.

The committed, in its report released on Friday in Abuja, disputed that quarry activities were responsible for the earth tremor, saying that indiscriminate sinking of boreholes is a major problem in the territory.

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According to the findings, some spots and locations have been identified and considered to be earthquake prone in Nigeria, particularly in Abuja.

The presidential committee, while submitting its report to the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, recommended that the government should strictly regulate hydrological activities in Abuja.

The committee attributed the recent quake to the multiple drilling of boreholes and the daily extraction of 330,000 metric tonnes of water from the earth.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Mohammed, said about 110,000 boreholes sunk in Abuja produce 330,000 metric tonnes of water daily.

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“The latest occurred in September 7th of 2018 in Abuja with Mpape as epicenter. Though these earthquakes may have been of low-magnitudes, it is now certain that earthquake occurrence has become a potential hazard to the nation,” Mr Mohammed said.

“The report of the geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical investigations carried out in 1978 by Julius Berger for Abuja identified Mpape as a Shear zone that is weak with several fractures and fault system.”

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Mr Mohammed said the 110,000 boreholes within Abuja metropolis and about 330, 000 metric tonnes of water extracted daily were not sustainable.

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“There is the need to regulate the exploitation of ground water resources of Abuja via indiscriminate sinking of boreholes because this has been the primary reason for the stress build up leading to the Abuja tremors of 5th-7th September, 2018.

“Government should release fund for the training of geophysicist, geologists, engineers, technologists and researchers to participate in earth science research, in order to improve our understanding of Nigerian and West African geophysics and tectonics dynamism. We emphasize that this research has crucial societal ‘value as it is evident in earthquake hazard readiness and mitigation.”

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