There was an unimaginable scare in Ushafa community, Abuja on Wednesday, when an explosion occurred near the Department of State Services, DSS, institute and around the exit pipe of the only dam supplying water to the entire FCT residence.
The explosion, which occurred around 2 pm, DAILY POT gathered, shook houses in the community to their foundations, especially those within the Usuma Dam quarters and the DSS institute within the axis.
When DAILY POST visited the area, some farmers, who narrowly escaped being killed by the explosion, pointed to the quarry site around the only radio station in the area, Jordan FM, revealing that the quarry had started full operations despite petitions and queries from different quarters regarding their alleged illegal mining and the danger such will pose to the entire community.
DAILY POST had earlier reported that the quarry company whose owners are believed to be powerful individuals in government commenced excavation of the area since early 2020 amid warnings by the DSS and Water Board over its negative impacts on the community and public property within the area. While the DSS is concerned about the security threat of constant blasting of rocks and extreme noise within the area, the FCT Water Board had raised the alarm over the impact of the quarry located just a few meters away from the lower part of the Dam that could trigger unimaginable disaster.
Lower Usuma Dam supplies water to FCT homes, including the presidency.
A source at the DSS institute, who preferred not to be mentioned, termed the location of the quarry as illegal, stating that it threatens the existence of the institute and poses a general security threat to the FCT due to the constant blasting that would be coming from there.
A resident of Usuma Dam quarters, Mr Henry told DAILY POST that his wife and children were the ones at home when the explosion went off. He said the confusion and fear created by the explosion could have led to another disaster. He said, “Many people came out of their houses in fear and were running to the Dam before they were stopped.
Mr. Ayinda Thomas, a businessman and a Gbagi indigene told DAILY POST that different petitions had been submitted over the activities of the illegal miners, alleging that some people leased out the land to the quarry company a few years ago. According to him, they have just a few years before they leave.
A landowner whose plot was encroached upon by the company lamented that people who wanted to develop their plots have been stopped due to the quarry activities. The landowner who does not want his name in print appealed to the government to “ensure the quarry company vacate the area as they have now become a huge danger to residents and landowners. “Imagine where these people are setting up their quarry. Does this make any sense? How can this be allowed? And the worst part is that they have started blasting. The last time we were here to complain, they told us they won’t blast with explosives. This is illegal and cannot continue to happen in Abuja. How can the government be threatening to demolish people’s houses over some unjustified reasons yet cannot act on something that threatens the security and well-being of the people?’’ he lamented.
When DAILY POST contacted the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, of Bwari Area Council, Mr Biodun Makanjuola, he said the explosions and the quarry activities were yet to be brought to his notice. He said that the police can only act when they get an official report from the community or some concerned individuals, “who should draw our attention to the matter. As for now, we have not received any petition from the residents. Once we get that, we will swing into action,’’ he said.