In Mpape, Abuja, in an abandoned quarry named Crush Rock, a formation of grey rock and green grass surrounds a derelict lake. Crush Rock is one of nine quarries in Mpape, six of which are active: Arab Contractors, Hongyum, Exsamine 1, Exsamine 2, Perfect Stone, and Leenford; and the remaining two of which are abandoned: Julius Berger and Dantata.
Quarrying, the extraction of nonmetallic rocks from below the surface, has been a major economic offering from Mpape. The area has been a reliable source for sandstone, limestone, perlite, marble, ironstone, slate, granite, rock salt, and phosphate rock. Explosives are used to blast open shot holes. After extraction, the rock is crushed to produce aggregate, which is either screened into required sizes or further processed.
The ponds form after abandonment, as a result of prior rigorous quarrying. The largest quarry, Julius Berger, contains three ponds, which have the biggest depths—25 m, 20 m, and 15 m. That of Crush Rock is 14 m and that of Dantata is 6 m.
Some of the sites, including Julius Berger, Crush Rock, and the active Arab Contractors, are being encroached by settlements up to distances between 100 m and 150 m, rather than the recommended 200 m. There have been recommendations for the planting of trees and the conversion of the ponds for socio-economic uses, to make up for the environmental degradation.
In 2018, following earth tremor in Mpape, Jabi, Gwarimpa, and other parts of Maitama, the Federal Government suspended the blasting of rocks in the Federal Capital Territory.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture: art, business, entertainment, activism, health, food. He is a writer, journalist, curator, media consultant, former academic, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Open Country Mag, a new online platform covering African literature. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians" by Avance Media. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.