•Await govt directives amid fear, trembling
From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The people of Kwoi town in Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna State are living in fear. They don’t know exactly what to do next following a series of earth tremors sporadically threatening their lives. They say their relocation or otherwise depends on government’s decision.
However, some residents have already fled Kwoi, running to neighbouring towns like Kagoma, Kafanchan and Kachia. They are only hoping to return to their community when they are told that the tremors have stopped. These take them by surprise, mostly at night.
Earth tremors were reported in Kwoi town, about 240 kilometres south of Kaduna town, in early and mid-September. The incident led to some buildings cracking and residents fleeing their homes as a result of severe vibrations.
Kwoi is an ancient town inhabited by different ethnic groups. But it is believed that the Jaba people are the main inhabitants of the area; their major occupation is farming. The town is a gateway to many communities in and around the state, including Abuja.
When our correspondent visited Kwoi recently, some of it residents described the sound of the vibration as something akin to the boom of bombs.
One of the residents, Mrs. Christiana Emmanuel, said the inhabitants had taken their case to God, as most of them now sleep in churches, praying for God’s mercy.
Christiana, whose house was damaged by the tremorsß, recalled that her family was fast asleep when the house shook and began to crack.
“We had to rush out of the house. We could not come back till the next day. Now we go to church to pray so that this type of thing doesn’t happen again. But we are waiting for government, either state or federal, to tell us the true position of this fearful occurrence. We want them to tell us whether to move out of the town or stay because, as it is, we don’t know what to do,” she said.
However, a geologist, the Executive Director, National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna, Dr. Emmanuel Adanu, who led a team of experts to Kwoi recently, told the traditional ruler of the area, Kpop Ham: “We are here to see what happened. We are here to see how we can put together the information the people have about this incident in a better perspective.
“This will enable your subjects to know exactly what is happening and what steps to take because, so far, we have not got a clear idea of what to do. We have gone round the community and tried to see how we could come up with something the government could make available to you because, as it stands, nobody can say for sure what we should be doing.
“We want to put our heads together and come up with some explanation as it is not good that your subjects are living in fear. You don’t know what is happening; you don’t know what to do and what not to do, whether people should run away or stay. We see that everybody is scared.”
Adanu noted that: “This tremor is an earthquake already. It is just that it is mild. It is just a message sent by the quake, a tremor that comes with an earthquake.
“When the earth quakes, it transmits energy. Prayers don’t stop earthquakes because it is the process of the earth stabilising itself. For us in Africa, we are lucky. We have not been experiencing earthquakes. But countries like China have been suffering all the time, not because they committed any crime. However, there is no cause for alarm. The cause for alarm only comes when destructive earthquake occurs.”
Adanu urged the residents to remain calm and allow the experts to monitor the situation for some time, noting that he would advise government to establish a seismometer centre in the area because: “the earth might be vibrating and we might not know but, with seismometers, we can tell the frequency and the degree of vibration.”
Paramount ruler of Kwoi, Dr. Danladi Gyet Maude, said that he was worried about the action and inaction of some geologists that earlier visited the area.
Addressing a team of geologists from NWRI, the traditional ruler said his worry stemmed from the fact that those who visited earlier promised to make available the results of their findings but failed to do so.
The paramount ruler who said he had a diploma in Geology from an American institution said: “I’m a bit worried because the geologists who came here before now promised to come up with the result as soon as possible but we have not seen any.
“Unfortunately, one of them told us that there could never be an earthquake in this area. I am not so sure of what he said. He was only trying to encourage us but with incorrect information. I obtained a diploma from an American university. I was then reading arts subjects, but I took time to read geology. For all I know, an earthquake can occur anywhere.”
He noted that leaders of the community were trying to explain what was happening to the peoplem, urging them not to panic. “We have sensitised them. We have told then that, in case of another quake, they should leave their homes and return when it subsides and if there are any serious cracks in the house, they should stay away.”
An 11-year-old boy, Idris Abdulkarim, who lives with his grandmother in Kwoi, while narrating his experience described the sound of the tremor as both deafening and devastating.
“It occurred mostly at night. When it happened, we rushed out of our homes. Now it happens almost every day,” he said.