Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Federal government has refuted claims of an earth tremor in Abuja saying it was a mere accident.
Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) revealed that the disturbing noise and earth-shaking experienced about 2 am on Friday by residents of Mpape was just an accident.
Speaking in a telephone interview, the Deputy Director, Economic Geologist Department, NGSA, Isaac Okorie, said: “It wasn’t an earth tremor, it was an accident.”
According to Okorie, “they shouldn’t call it an earth tremor. A quarrying company in Mpape area had some expired explosives they use to break the rock and these explosives were stored in a house.
“They wanted to dispose of some of the expired explosive and they duly contacted our colleagues in the mines inspectorate department of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, who told them what to do but, unfortunately, the advice wasn’t professional enough.
“So, they went a little distance where their administrative block is and dug a hole and put the expired explosives into the hole and exploded them. The power was effective and, we recorded it in our earth tremor equipment, which already covered the whole of Abuja and we traced it and now found out what happened.
“The strength of the explosion shattered their building and at least, five or more houses in the neighbouring community, which is not far off. When that happened, it brought a lot of panics. So, we swung into action and a team of our officials were there when it happened and they found out what happened.
“They also berated our colleagues from the ministry. What they should have done was to advise the company to take the expired toxic to a far distance where human beings or building are not nearby and the hole would have been deeper, in different places instead of packing up everything in one hole.
“So that’s what happened. We have already taken note of what happened and to assure citizens and residents of the area that they should not panic. But, buildings were shattered and that is the truth. In fact, the administrative building of the company was badly damaged.
“In short, they just have to demolish it. Other surrounding buildings were also affected; they belonged to people in the community.”
Okorie stated further that no lives were lost in the process, adding that only buildings were damaged.
He said: “There was panicking but, no life was lost. We were there yesterday. Issues like these, professionalism is important and also collaboration. Our colleagues in the mines inspectorate department of the Ministry are also professional but, they should have involved us.
“The company contacted them and we also gave our own advice. They know about explosives; they give explosive license, but there was a little bit of mistake from them. When professionals make mistakes, it could be very dangerous.”
He further urged the government to strengthen the organs that are directly involved in monitoring and studying of natural disasters to make them proactive in their duty so as to minimise the effect of these on the populace, not just in Abuja but the country at large.