IMO State capital Owerri is now at risk of suffering from a significant earthquake as a result of the unregulated destruction of the environment that had been brought about by the incessant and indiscriminate sinking of boreholes across the city.
One of Nigeria’s most industrious cities, Owerri has benefitted from the enterprueneral spirit of its indigenes, who have developed it into a modern metropolis complete with palatial houses and all the other trapping that go along with this. However, due to the failure of the state to provide basic amenities, everyone has had to provide their own private electricity through generators and sink boreholes to get portable water.
This is now presenting a serious environmental challenge as the soil beneath the city is now so weak and eroded that disaster looms. Emeka Ugoanyanwu, the managing director of the Imo State Water and Sewage Corporation, has warned of an impending earthquake if nothing is done to halt the further digging of boreholes.
Mr Ugoanyanwu, who spoke at the Urban Media Network quarterly meeting organised by the United States Agency for International Development on Effective Water Sanitation and Hygiene Services in Owerri, said there would be nothing to save the city in the event of such a disaster. He added that the epicentre of such a quake would be in the city itself because areas such as the World Bank region alone, had over 20,000 houses with boreholes
“This is affecting the earth surface and the danger is the more boreholes you construct, the more you are opening the earth surface. This alters the stress and strains on the earth’s crust which can cause tremors like the ones happening now in Abuja,” Mr Ugoanyanwu added.
He said to avert this danger from happening, the Imo State government should take an urgent step to restore public water supply in the state. According to Mr Ugoanyanwu, the current administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma has shown a commitment towards providing portable water supply in the state.
Mr Ugoanyanwu pointed out that government efforts at building the Owerri water scheme in 1983 at the cost of $34m, could not be sustained due to mismanagement. He thanked the government for resuscitating the scheme but painfully pointed out that over N100m damage at the corporation’s water scheme on College Road in Mgbidi, have been caused due to vandalism and theft.