The rising cases of suicide in Nigeria, especially among young people, have continued to be of great concern to well meaning individuals and well thinking members of the society. Recent statistics from newspaper investigations indicate that no fewer than 264 suicide cases were recorded in the country within the last four years. A breakdown of the reports indicate that the year 2019 recorded the highest number of suicide cases within the country.With 85 cases, 2019 was ranked highest while the preceding year 2018 recorded 79 suicide cases.
The year 2017 had 66 suicide cases, while 34 cases were recorded between January and August this year, 2020. Findings revealed that while many of the victims took their lives using the chemical called ‘Sniper,’ others committed suicide by hanging or by jumping into the sea to get themselves drowned. A study by the Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative (SURPIN), conducted at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), revealed that out of every 66 suicide victims cumulatively recorded in 2018, only about 37.9 percent committed or attempted it through conventional means, while nearly 62.
1 percent bade life farewell through the consumption of poison, especially the deadly chemical, sniper. Chukwuemeka Akachi, a 400 level student of English and Literary studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, took his own life using the deadly chemical, same for Temitope Saka, a 17-year-old girl who died after consuming the insecticide, identified as ‘Sniper’, in the Igando area of Lagos State. Before Akachi and Saka, was 19-year-old girl, Uche Obiora, who was said to have also consumed ‘Sniper’ at her boyfriend’s house, which is a street away from Saka’s grandmother’s house. Many have pointed at the inability to face life’s challenges as the reason for these young ones ending their own lives.
The reasons for suicide had been confirmed by many medical experts, particularly psychiatrists. They (experts) said people commit suicide for several reasons, ranging from depression, reaction to failure and disappointments, response to accumulated domestic violence, unemployment, alcohol dependence, drug use and abuse, among others. Some experts too have also listed mental illness, traumatic stress, substance use, fear of loss and hopelessness as the reasons for suicide, especially as it is difficult to imagine that a sane person will without being under any influence, end his or her life. But no matter the cause, suicide is condemnable throughout the world and many had called on government to take measures to halt moves by people, especially teenagers to take their own life.
We join the many voices that have spoken against this vice to say no to suicide as shortcut to end life challenges. It is the belief of all that government, parents, clerics and opinion moulders are strategic to curtailing suicide in Nigeria, as opinion moulders in the country have said that government at all levels should be responsive to the wellbeing of the people. For instance, imposing a 7.5 percent value added tax, shutting down the borders, increasing pump price of petroleum, increasing electricity tariff at the time Nigerians are recovering from bad economy occasioned by the dreaded coronavirus disease, could inflict untold hardship on the people. Economic hardship and inability to make ends meet could push people to suicide, while social and economic pressures could also be the pointer towards suicide.
The youths are always at the receiving end of these government policies which open them to being economically vulnerable and are pushed to the point of seeing themselves as failures. Those of them who could not withstand the pressure are pushed to committing suicide as they feel short-changed. Religious leaders have also condemned suicide by young people, explaining that the act itself is killing, which God had condemned. They (Religious leaders) referred persons who are depressed to the Holy Book, the Bible which in 1 Peter 5: 7, instructed us to give all our worries and cares to God, for he cares about us. We believe that despair and anxiety have always been a part of life on earth, but mankind can find strength, wisdom, and guidance in the encouraging words from the Bible. No matter what we face; job loss, relationship conflict, death of a loved one, or even a worldwide pandemic, reaching out to God Almighty for direction should be the key to solving the problem.
The Bible is filled with encouraging words that provide us hope when we are in trouble and we are of the view that God wants to comfort us in times of need. If you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, the Bible can lift your spirits and give you a fresh start. Philippians 4:13 admonishes us saying, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We believe that making laws with the intention to stop would-be suicide victims from taking their lives, is not the solution, but teaching the young ones the tenets of Christianity and the need to turn to God when all hopes are lost, remains the solution. “Suicide is condemnable throughout the world and many had called on government to take measures to halt moves by people, especially teenagers to take their own life. We join the many voices that have spoken against this vice to say no to suicide as shortcut to end life challenges.