My phone began to ring at 2.30am this morning. I heard the churning from far and I thought I was dreaming. I ignored the first call. Just after five minutes it began ringing again. It was a bosom friend who never calls me at that fateful time.
Just when my wife took my phone to check who was disturbing our deep sleep my eyes opened but the call cut. The caller never rang again. For some unknown reasons it did not strike me to return the call. We naturally fell asleep again.
Within seconds if my memory serves me right another call came but this time it was my wife’s phone that was ringing. It was from an unknown name. She answered and the voice from the other end did not mince words – “There is an earthquake coming so please go outside. Call your friends and families.”
“Really!!!” my wife exclaimed and the call went dead.
I was curious and asked her what’s going on. She said it was one of her friends. She broke the news no one ever wanted to hear to me and suddenly the horrible scenes from Haiti’s earthquake kept replaying in my mind.
“Oh My God! Okay let us not waste time. Let’s go out and call the others,” I told her without striking to me at all that no one not even the world super powers with the most sophisticated equipment can ever predict when an earthquake would occur.
After calling my neighbours I login to Facebook and Twitter and already the news which later turned to be a nationwide prank had spread like wild fire. One after the other people started opening their doors and the noise from the conversations filled the quiet dawn atmosphere.
The panic stricken public kept to their radio sets and mobile phones for official pronouncements on radio but no one was saying anything. The false text message kept going round and round and round like a spiral.
However, after three– four hours of waiting in vain a deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa walked into the studios of a local radio station – Joy FM – to allay the fears of Ghanaians.
“Government wants to assure the nation that it is just a rumour, that, there is going to be an earthquake. There is no iota of scientific evidence in that; somebody has just pulled a prank on the nation.
“It’s nothing but a wild rumour orchestrated and aimed at causing commotion and panic. It is not true, we have checked from all the official agencies,” he said.
So who hatched this expensive joke on the over 22 million Ghanaians?
Ablakwa said the national security has launched an investigation into the issue to locate the source of the prank.
After close to an hour outside, I decided to return to bed with some degree of fear but I fell asleep and would have died anyway if the alleged earthquake had come to visit. This shows how powerful mobile phones have become in our modern world.