By; MOHAMMAD IBRAHIM, Kaduna.
Residents of Hayin Magina within Ikara town of Ikara Local Government of Kaduna State are now living in fear and confusion following an earth tremor that hits that community on the 10 of May, 2016.
According to Wikipedia an earthquake also known as tremor or temblor is the perceptible shaking of the surface of the earth, resulting from the sudden release of energy in the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.
Residents said a laud sounding noise like an explosion was heard across the town which shoock the whole community.
The people who were preparing to go to bed around 10 pm rushed out of their houses in fear and confusion because of the heavy vibration which emanated from a nearby rock in the area.
It was gathered that the vibration caused very large cracks in the ground surrounding the rock and also houses.
Team of investigative journalists among them our correspondent visited the community which was one and half hour journey from Kaduna main city.
While in the community they discovered that about 60 houses surrounding the rock all felt the effect of the vibration with majority left with cracks.
Residents said the rock has been there for many years even before people came to build houses there, but that it has never vibrateed or made such sound before.
According to most of the Residents interviewed, the vibration followed by explosion beneath the rock was very scary.
Aminu Na Dare Abubakar was among the youth who was closed to the rock when the vibration occurred and he explained; “It started around 10 pm on that day and people rushed out of their houses when they heard the loud sound. It was the first time we heard such a thing in the community.
“The vibration by the rock sent fears into the mind of everybody in the community because the whole thing looked like a movie. That was why I immediately went to inform the Police Divisional Officer 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”.
It was also gathered that the vibration happened again days later around 4 pm, saying there is the urgent need for government to evacuate the residents closed to the rock.
Zainab Abdullahi a housewife, whose house was affected as cracks were all seen on the wall, said they were seated inside the compound when they heard a loud sound.
“Even hens in the building were scared. Our well was closed but the cover opened by itself as a result of the vibration followed by the loud sound.
“People rushed out of their house but we didn’t see anything at first because it was night. We spent the night with our two eyes opened as we couldn’t sleep out of fear. In the morning we discovered the sound came from the rock behind our house.
“The second time, we experienced it was around 4pm. We performed ablution and was about to say our Asri prayer when it happened again. The sound was like that of a gun sound and we saw crack on the rock including inside our rooms.
“After an interval of say like 10 days, and when we were already thinking that was all, it re-occurred again. Now we sleep with one eye closed and the other open. In fact, our neighbours have vacated their houses,” she said.
Asked if they are prepared to vacate their house she said “We are tenants in this house. If it warrants us vacating the house for our safety we are ready to do so because the situation is scarry and beyond our powers,”
Another housewife Halima Nasiru narrated her ordeal the very day they heard the sound.
“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.
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, if evacuating the people closed 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.
It was gathered that attention of Geophysics and Geologists were drawn from the Department of Physics and Geology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a team of Scientist went to the site for preliminary investigations.
They discovered that what occurred in the community on that fateful day was earth tremor.
The Geophysical and Geological investigations of the Ikara Earth Tremor document obtained and signed by one Professor K.M. Lawal and Dr Aminu A. Lawal of Geology and Physics, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, said earth tremors have been experienced in some parts of Nigeria since the last century.
Documented occurrences were in 1939, 1963, 1984, 1990, 2000, 2006 and 2009.
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. The site investigations conducted by the team of scientist within Ikara Township 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 expert said in the document.
Head of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nasiru who attributed the incidence to climate change said when the Local Government Council got the information, they immediately called on experts to give them expertise aspect of what happened.
“The first people who responded to our call were Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. The team comprises of Professors of Geology, Physics and Environmentalist. So they 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 re- occurrence.
“Based on the report given by the experts from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), what we are experiencing is what is called fracture along the geological structure of the rock. And I think we are expecting them to come for the exercise so that we can have a long term approach to the matter. Duration of the exercise is a month and in phases (1 – 3).
“Yes it is as a result of climate change, that these 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 temprent, other things that encourage the disarray of biological equilibrium of the climate within the community”.
On whether a substance found at the site as claimed by the residents is a powder, he said “It is not a powder, it is the crack along the fracture zone within the surface outcross of the rock and that is why they see those substances. But we have to go into further researches into further exploration before you can be able to detect. But only that the break heat along fracture zone most have a kind of sawdust or figments that was seen on top of the rock.”
He also appealed to the state government to evacuate the people closed to the rock so as to protect their lives and property.
Investigation also revealed that the report on the Tremor was attached to a later submitted to the state government on 24 May, 2016. But the community is still wondering why the evacuation exercise has not commence two months after the submission of the report.