The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) has raised the alarm over two incidents of earth tremor that have occurred in some communities in Bayelsa and Rivers states in recent times.
The group in a field report released in Yenagoa on Tuesday by Alagoa Morris, head of its Bayelsa office, lamented the frequency at which earth tremor incidents had taken place in the two sister states of the Niger Delta region.
While one happened on July 10, 2016, the other occurred on 10 August 2016.
Some of the affected communities include Akinima, Okaki, Mbiama and Akieoniso in Ahoada-West Local Government Area of Rivers State, and Igbogene community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The report quoted residents of the communities as saying that unlike the July experience, heavy sound accompanied the vibration in August as “the ground and trees, everywhere was shaking”.
Several buildings including residential and commercial buildings as well as churches and schools impacted by the earth tremor “were affected, cracked from top to bottom.”
“This is the second time we are experiencing it here in Igbogene community. This time around it was in broad daylight and you hear people reacting spontaneously with ‘’Blood of Jesus, Blood of Jesus.
“It lasted for about 15 to 20 seconds. My fear is that if this should last up to a minute, there might be catastrophe. The last time it happened at night and most people were fast asleep”, Victor Idiedo, a
resident of Igbogene, narrated.
Asueze Arugu, an indigene of Okaki, said that she mistook the sound of the earth tremor to that seismic activity carried out by any of the multinational oil companies operating in the region.
“I was in the bush, in my farm, farming. And then, we heard a loud sound. Our mind went straight to oil exploration activities as we have Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC] carrying out such activities within our environment. That was all,” she said.
Shadow Abel, paramount ruler of Mbiama community, confirmed the occurrence of the earth tremor, saying that he was in a meeting in his palace at Mbiama with representatives of Edagberi, an oil-producing community, when the incident happened.
Abel, who wondered why “such is happening repeatedly and with very close frequency in July and August”, called for proper investigation of the incident to allay the fears of the people.
ERA/FoEN has also urged the local, state and Federal Governments to rise up to the occasion and act fast towards identifying the root causes of earth tremor in the areas with a view to mitigating further occurrence.