Mystery of the “disappeared Ogun River” (by Olubunmi Afinowi)

     Few days ago, a section of the Ogun River disappeared over night, seemingly without a trace. Strange occurrence it is indeed, as strange as it might seem, such occurrences have been recorded in other parts of the world.
- In November 1980, Lake Peigneur, 11 feet deep and 1300 acres wide disappeared within hours. Drilling was being carried out on the lake when suddenly the drillers heard loud sounds and a whirlpool appeared and sucked everything on the lake into openings that had appeared in the bed of the lake.
- In mid 2005, a lake in Vachsky, Russia suddenly disappeared overnight. A cavity was noticed in the bed of the lake after the water had dried up
- Southern Andes Mountains Chile also disappeared, the lake was 130 feet wide and it just simply disappeared suddenly. Because the lake was located in the mountains, no one could give an account of what happened before the water drained out. Investigations however showed that a large tremor occurred on the 21st of April, roughly 2 weeks before the lake disappeared. Also, like other lakes and rivers that disappeared, cracks and fractures were notices in the bed of the lake.
- In March 2016, large sections of the Atoyac River in Veracruz Mexico disappeared overnight. Those living close to the river reported hearing a loud crack noise. Upon observation the following morning, large cracks were noticed in the river bed. These cracks were attributed to “geological fractures”.
      Trevor Day and Richard Garratt in their book Lakes and Rivers point out that sudden geological events can cause water to drain from rivers “overnight”. Areas with limestone deposits can experience erosion causing an outlet for water to drain out of the rivers. Also, such sudden disappearances of rivers can be attributed to a volcano, earthquake or tremor. Any of these could cause the ground to fracture and create a sink hole.
      I am not a trained geologist or environmental scientist, but I am a concerned Nigerian. The dried up river has been turned into a playground/holy ground and tourist site. The most ridiculous tales have sprung up: the river dried up because of some women’s indecent dressing!!! The level of corruption in Nigeria finally got the attention of the gods and there are punishing us by drying up the river!!!
      It is quite surprising that the ministries of the environment, at the federal and Ogun state level have not issued an official statement to properly inform the populace of the likely causes of the “mysterious disappearance” of Ogun River. Apart from the superstitions and economic consequences of the river drying up, if this is due to a geological fracture in the river bed, it is even more disturbing considering the extent of the disaster that could follow the expansion of such geological cracks or fractures. It is worthy of note that in the mid nineties, earth tremors were reported in some parts of Ogun State, this is even more reason why this should not be trivialised, the governments at the federal and state levels should do the expedient.


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