The Nigerian Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, has ordered the suspension of quarrying and mining activities following the recent earth tremors in Abuja. According to media reports, the vibrations were first noticed last week on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. However, by Friday morning, it had extended to other areas in the Nigerian capital.
According to a statement by the FCTA Press Secretary, Cosmas Uzodinma the minister gave the order after paying a visit to the affected areas. In addition to mining and quarrying activities, the minister also halted drilling of boreholes in the affected areas. This, he said, is until the root cause for the incident is identified.
Meanwhile, preliminary reports have since indicated that the activities of rock blasting from quarrying, mining activities, as well as proliferation of borehole drilling are likely causes of these tremors.
The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had said the possible cause of the earth shaking in some parts of the Nigerian capital was as a result of earth tremor.
On the other hand, the Executive director Urban-Rural Environmental Defenders (U-RED) God’spower Martins said that other than the natural factor identified by FEMA, it is not advisable to completely disregard the role played by activities such as rock blasting by quarry companies which always use crude means of technology.
Similarly, environmental rights activist, Nimo Bassey, stressed the need for an urgent audit of all rock mining sites in Abuja to ascertain the legality of the activities being carried out. He further insisted that there should be due penalty for illegal activities, halting of future rock mining and compensation of communities that have suffered loss of lives and of livestock on account of said activities.