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Monday, 26 September 2016

Earth tremors: Communities recount ordeal

Residents of Mbiama and Okaki in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State and Igbogene in Yenagoa LGA of Bayelsa State respectively have recounted their experiences over the recent earth tremors that occurred in their communities.

The residents, who expressed fear over the development, said the most worrisome aspect of the earth tremors was that they had yet to ascertain the real cause.

A resident of Igbogene community in Yenagoa, Mr. Victor Idiedo, said they experienced the tremor in July and August.

He said, “Last time when it happened in July, we didn’t hear sound, but the one of August 10, there was a sound preceding the tremor.

“My brother who went to farm called to inform me that the ground, trees and everywhere were shaking. I quickly reached out and informed ERA again to prevail on the state and federal governments to come and carry out proper investigation so as to allay our fears and also avoid ugly situations.

“This is the second time we have experienced the earth tremor here in Igbogene community. It lasted for about 30 seconds. My fear was that if it should last up to a minute, there might be catastrophe.

“The last time, it happened at night and most people were fast asleep. But this time, almost everybody was awake [in the afternoon] and that was why some ran out of their houses, shouting ‘blood of Jesus.’”

A female resident of Okaki in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers State, Asueize Arugu, said she was in the farm when the tremor occurred.

According to another young lady at Mbiama, Ahoada West, Amaechi Elvis, that day remains unforgettable in her life.

She said, “On that fateful day, we sat outside our house. Suddenly, we heard a quaking noise and everywhere was shaking. Many people were here when it happened.  I thought something had fallen.

“We were apprehensive. We didn’t even know the cause. But since then till now, we haven’t experienced anything again. Most people are attributing it to seismic activities around us.”

Uboh Umor, who recalled the incident, said he was in Mbiama, a boundary community between Rivers and Bayelsa when the incident occurred.

Umor, who said he had experienced earth tremors twice, said when the first one happened in July, he had already retired to bed.

He, however, said the earth vibration shook everywhere, hence people woke up from their sleep.

Umor said, “When that first one happened, the vibration happened twice then. The first was mild, but when the second vibration occurred that night, most people ran out of their houses. Everyone was just asking what was happening, but nobody could explain.”

Ayibakuro Friday, a resident of Igbogene, said the August 10 episode of the tremor remained a day he could not easily forget.

He said, “We have been trying to find out the cause of the earth tremors, but we have yet to get real and convincing answers. A friend said it could be as a result of earth’s movement, but I am not convinced.”

The monarch of Mbiama community, His Royal Majesty, King Shadow Abel, said he was in a meeting with some visitors.

He wondered why such incident was happening repeatedly and with very close frequency; July and August.

Going down memory lane, he said such development had not been experienced since crude oil was first discovered in Oloibiri and wondered why it was happening now.

He however reasoned that so much exploitation of oil and gas might have left vacuum in the ground which might result into such tremors.

The monarch called for a proper investigation of the incident so as to allay the fears of the people.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Right Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria has condemned the failure of relevant authorities to institute a probe to ascertain the causes of earth tremors that ravaged some communities in Bayelsa and Rivers states.

ERA observed in a field report after visiting the impacted communities that findings from residents of the communities confirmed that the incident was real.

The report indicated that there was every need for the relevant authorities to institute a body of experts to ascertain the immediate or remote causes of the earth tremor to avoid future occurrence.

The group, however, said it was worried that the authorities at local, state and federal government levels had yet to initiate any steps towards identifying what led to the earth tremors.

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