TOBI AWORINDE, who was in Saki, Oyo State, writes about the panic that has gripped the sleepy town following series of earth tremors
Though a middle-aged housewife, Mrs. Alimot Bisiriyu, who resides in Saki, Oyo State, had never heard the word ‘apocalypse’ in her life, a disturbing experience she had three months ago made her think the world was about to end.
“It was about 2.30pm that day; I had just finished doing some laundry that afternoon. I was hanging the clothes on the line when all of a sudden the ground started vibrating violently. I was so terrified that I crumpled to the floor and held my head in my arms. I began to say prayers,” she said.
Bisiriyu stated that everyone in the house thought the building would collapse.
She said, ‘‘They were running helter-skelter; those inside were running out, while the ones outside were running indoors. When it stopped a few minutes later, I couldn’t believe that I had survived.
“It was the worst experience of my entire life. I had a pounding headache for the rest of that week.”
Bisiriyu, like her husband, Abdulraheem, and other residents in the town located in the South-West, recently experienced the rage of an earth tremor.
Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH on a breezy, quiet Sunday afternoon, Abdulraheem, said he found the tremors perplexing since there was no physical activity in the area to cause the underground activity that terrorised the villagers.
He said, “There is no quarrying in this area, so we find it strange that we would be experiencing such a strange occurrence 25 years after settling here and after 10 years in this house.
“Between March and May, we heard it constantly almost every day, like an explosion happening underground. It was extremely terrifying. But we have not heard it in the last two days. We only hope the tremors are gone for good. But from experience, we know that such hope only lasts a short while.”
An Associate Professor of Applied Geophysics with the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Adekunle Adepelumi, distinguished between a tremor and an earthquake.
He explained that tremors are measured on a scale of one to 10.
“It is just like determining the extent of cancer in a patient; when it reaches 10, it is terminal. Likewise, when a tremor happens, we determine its intensity; how strong the earthquake is. When it is between one and five, the intensity of the seismic activity on the earth surface is not so severe, so we classify it as a tremor.
“But once the intensity is greater than five, it is an earthquake. As for the one that happened (in Saki), I placed it at 2.3”
Explaining further, the professor said the earth tremors witnessed in Saki occurred in the Atlantic Ocean.
“The force under the Atlantic Ocean was then propagated to Saki, Lagos State, and some parts of Abeokuta, Ogun State, which I confirmed. Now, the same thing has been experienced in Kaduna State (northern Nigerian); also in Bayelsa State (South-South) on June 26 and July 24,” the geologist noted.
A 2015 joint study by the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, the National Space Research and Development Agency, and the Department of Geology and Mining, University of Jos, titled ‘The review of the historical and recent seismic activity in Nigeria’ stated that though Nigeria was not situated on any active known seismic belt, between 1933 and 2011, it recorded at least 31 tremors.
The report noted that the intensities of the events ranged from three to six based on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale.
It further stated, “Tremors are concentrated along the south-western and north-eastern to north-central parts of the country. Any future occurrences of earth tremors in the country are likely going to occur along these inferred fault lines.”
The terror below
Bisiriyu’s, a five-foot-tall man with a grey beard, told our correspondent that the tremor in Saki began as incessant “explosions underground” which gradually escalated into more violent ... Read more