Investigate earth tremors, affected residents urge Nigerian government


The communities affected by the July and August earth tremors in Rivers and Bayelsa have appealed to the Federal Government to investigate the incidents.

The people made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Yenagoa on Sunday.

The earth tremor was reported to have occurred around oilfields operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in Bayelsa and Rivers between July and August.

Abel Shadow, the traditional ruler of Mbiama, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers, said the two vibrations beneath the ground caused panic among his subjects.

Mr. Shadow said that the occurrence of the two incidents in quick succession was worrisome, adding that the intervention of government was required, with a view to tackling the problem.

He said that the community was so much in panic, especially when the incident recurred in August as the people gathered outside their houses in despair.

“The incident sent shockwaves down the spine of everyone in Mbiama.

“I was having a meeting in my palace when the earth started vibrating. We initially thought the vibration was caused by a machine at a nearby construction site.

“To our greatest surprise, we discovered that no machine was working anywhere around,’’ the monarch said.

The traditional ruler said that he suspected the incidents might not be unconnected with seismic activities in the oilfields.

Mr. Shadow who expressed doubt on the safety procedures at the oilfields in the Niger Delta, called on government to audit the safety records of the companies in to preserve human lives and the environment.

Iboh Umor, a resident of Mbiama, recalled that she was in a hair-salon when the tremor occurred. She said she initially thought the vibration was a result of seismic activities by oil firms in the area.

She said the incident caused panic in the town as people rushed out of their houses in confusion.

Victor Idiedo, a resident of the affected Igbogene community in Bayelsa, also called on government to investigate the incidents.

Mr. Idiedo noted that the occurrence of the earth tremor within the space of one month was disturbing and federal and state governments should make efforts to know why it has happened.

According to him, there have been prior predictions of possible earthquake in Bayelsa and other states in the Niger Delta, expressing worries that the August incident occurred around 4 p.m., exactly one month after the first one.

Asueize Arugu, an indigene of Okarki, said the people heard a loud sound which they thought was caused by dynamites used by oil firms operating in the area.

When contacted, Precious Okolobo, the Media Relations Manager of SPDC, declined comments on the development.



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