From the past few years, earthquake; usually caused when rock underground suddenly breaks along fault or due to explosion underground, has been known to pose huge threat on existence of lives and installed public facilities ranging from schools, banks, power installations, telecommunication masts and skyscrapers. This brought to front burner, the recent Nepal earthquake where over 6,000 lives were lost in the 7.9 magnitude earthquake; about 14,000 people got injured while several Nepalese turned refuges due to displacement from their respective houses. Quite unfortunate, as Nepal was just recuperating from the geological disorder, few weeks after, another earthquake occurred.
Owing to devastating scar of the earthquake, the trail of the catastrophic event still continues to haunt Nepal. Though, an unusual occurrence on Africa continent; serious concerns and apprehensions have gripped inhabitants of Africa, most especially the most populous country in Africa (Nigeria). Indications have shown that most populous country is already panting as there seems to be no tangible measures in place to cater for such occurrence (God forbids). Though, some people believe that; earthquake is a natural phenomenon of which its occurrence might be difficult to control but, I stand vehemently to cast out such doubts, I wish to state that evidence has shown that most of incessant earthquakes in 21st century are being caused by man-made activities. Curiosities now arouse, what are man-made activities that tend to catalyse formation of earthquake?
Attention of Nigerians should be drawn to danger inherently laden in too much of borehole drilling, experts believe that drilling could induce landslide as a result of fault along the strata. In the 1960’s, only few or no borehole could be spotted in a community but reverse is now the case, we now have borehole clusters dominating our communities. Nigerians have made boreholes their last resort of water supply owing to Government ineptitude in providing potable water for the citizens.
In affirmation of Government ineptitude, with displeasure, a Lagos Monarch, The Oba of Onigbongbo in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State, due to non-supply of potable water to the area for a long time; Oba MunirudinYusuf recently ordered his subjects not to pay ridiculous water bills being dispatched to the area by the State Water Board. In rendering account on alternative(s) taken in ameliorating the problem by his subjects, he said “the lack of water has made every household dig up a borehole in their compound which will serve as a source of water. As a way out, the community has independently dug boreholes because of the serious challenge encountered in getting water”.
Amidst conflicting scientific perceptions, the probability of borehole clusters invoking earthquake is being subjected to serious debate. In clarifying the conflicting perceptions, at a workshop, The Executive Director; Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority, Engineer James Bisala said “ if there is no 50 metre distance between one borehole and another, it could cause liquid fire below the earth and ignite geological disorder”.
Complementing Engineer Bisala’s assertion, in 2011, due to earthquake that hit Southern Spain, town of Lorca where 9 people died and about 300 people were severely injured; investigative study attributed deep wells being sunk by farmers in watering their crops as major contributing factor to the earthquake.
Also, evidence has shown that oil and gas exploration could trigger earthquake and Nigeria is among top oil producing countries. Oil and gas drilling create massive amounts of toxic wastewater; the wastewater which is carcinogenic could contaminate ground water that seeps into boreholes. The wastewater generated is often injected into deep wells beneath the earth and it could dissolve rocks underneath, thereby, causing unbalance in geological formation culminating earthquake.
I stand as an advocate of Climate change adaptation and mitigation, It is my responsibility in notifying you of necessities embedded in saving our dear earth from further climate alterations. Towards saving the earth, the world thought it worthwhile in shifting from the use of fossil fuel to clean energy. Though, fossil fuel serves as core source of income for Nigeria Government, Federal Government of Nigeria could harness human and other alternative natural resources optimally towards generation of income. Afterall, some countries with few resources are doing fine. Nigeria could adopt Solar, Water and Wind as alternative sources of energy. Also, the trending mantra of one house, one borehole if not immediately curtailed portends grave long-term consequence on the soil of Nigerian State.
Towards discouraging drilling of borehole, Government should wake up to his responsibility of providing constant potable water supply to the citizenries. For effectiveness, available sources of water peculiar to each Local Government should be harnessed to its optimum potential in providing constant potable water supply.
In controlling the boreholes being sunk in the country, as the 7th assembly goes into twilight, having met citizens water demands, great task lies on 8th assembly to be inaugurated on May 29 in fraternizing with Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) together with Ministries overseeing Environment and Water towards working out realistic modalities in managing drilling activities nationwide. In view of this, it should be strictly mandated that anybody planning to sink borehole must seek approval from concerned Ministries.
Ahead of United Nations climate negotiations in December, so as not to be caught unaware, it will be worthwhile if Nigeria Government could map out clean energy schematic framework in view of saving the planet earth from further alterations that could be devastating in nearest future.
It is therefore imperative to save the coming generations from devastating climate alteration through regulations of human activities that could create altered earth. Let us leave a good legacy behind for the unborn generations by controlling our activities.
Written by: ODEWALE Abayomi Joseph
(Civil Engineering graduate; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)
Climate Tracker Activist; Nigeria