Opinion: Winning the battle against suicide

by Adesina Tosin Nathaniel

On the 19th of January The Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 5 Headquarters, Mr Abubakar Mohammed, while addressing Police officers in Bayelsa State, expressed worry over the increasing incidents of suicide among officers across the country. In his words he said

“The Inspector General of Police (IG) has asked us to now go close to our officers as well as the rank and file to know what their problems are because the level of suicide within the police is getting higher”

That was January, the news was everywhere that Police officers were committing suicide with lots of public commentators attributing the suicide to the ongoing economic recession in the country but that was not all. In the same month, one Tope Afolayan, a level 12 officer in the Ekiti State civil service and also a final year law student of the Ekiti State University (EKSU) committed suicide in his Ado Ekiti house without leaving a suicide note and the trend has continued since then.

In the month of February, there was the case of a young man who killed himself in Ikorodu part of Lagos in an uncompleted building due to his failed relationship with his girlfriend of over seven years. His body was found dangling inside the uncompleted building with a suicide note by his side.

The evil trend has now made its way into the month of March. In the early hours of the 7th of March, Ariyo Olanrewaju Taiwo posted this on his Facebook page “only got few hours to live..feeling depressed but not scared of death..wish I can make things right again but NO..it is over” Immediately he posted this, his Facebook friends went into a frenzy as they taunted him that he doesn’t know what he was doing. That evening he was found dead.

On the 18th of March 2017 Adesoji Adediran, a 500 level student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Ogbomosho hanged himself in his hostel room overnight without leaving a suicide note while his friends were out reading; what prompted him to do so remains a mystery to his friends who returned from the night class to find him dangling in his hostel room.

On the 19th of March 2017, a 35-year-old Medical Doctor Allwell Orji committed suicide in Lagos by jumping into the lagoon after he told his driver to pull over on the 3rd Mainland Bridge. All efforts to save his life proved abortive as his corpse was recovered from the lagoon by men of the Nigerian Police Force Marine Department on the 22nd of March 2017. There have been lots of narratives about his reason for suicide but the summary is that we lost the bright young man.

As if that was not enough, on the 20th of March a day after Doctor Orji’s suicide incidence a middle-aged woman attempted suicide by jumping into the Mile 2 River in the Maza Maza area of Lagos but was rescued before drowning.

Suicide is a worldwide occurrence that has claimed lots of lives but the increased rate of suicide in Nigeria is one that calls for attention from all well meaning Nigerians because we don’t know the next victim.

Majority of opinion moulders have attributed the rising rate of suicide in Nigeria to economic challenges. The question is, are we experiencing economic challenges for the first time? NO! Economic challenge has been a part of us in Nigeria as successive administrations have refused to tackle the economic problems confronting Nigerians with the right vigour and corruption has been the bane of our development.

Suicide is rising in Nigeria today due to the lack of love among Nigerians. This may sound funny but it’s a fact that Nigerians know.
We live in a country where individuals living on the same street don’t know the names of their next door neighbour. We’ve maintained this behaviour of “me and myself”, “me and my family”, “me and my business” as a result a depressed neighbour of ours passing through hard times won’t find anyone to encourage him or her. Those who share their problems with their friends find their problems being discussed on social media with lots of negativity from people as seen in the case of Olanrewaju Taiwo who was mocked by his friends before committing the act.

Dr Orji was a successful medical doctor for his age, he had a car and a driver but he still went ahead to commit suicide. Of the various narratives to his death none pointed to financial issues, so why did he had to take his life? Same as Olanrewaju Taiwo and other victims. None was related to an economic challenge so why did they resort to taking their lives in a bizarre manner?

It’s evident all these arise from depression and it’s high time we tackle this multifaceted problem that wants to establish its root among us.

According to Wikipedia “Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings, and sense of well-being”

It may be triggered by so many factors including physical illness, societal Challenge and it may be a fallout of medical prescription especially some range of Painkillers. All these can cause depression among other factors in individuals. People that experience depression do not just take ropes to hang themselves or jump into the Lagoon..No! suicide is the results of a continuous feeling of heaviness that has spiralled out of control.

The solution to this is seeking help when we have situations beyond our controls. Let’s speak out and stop being moody. A problem that defied solution can end up depressing us as a result, Let’s communicate with our family, friends and neighbours. Out of 180m Nigerians, we will still have that one person that arouse our feelings positively.

And to those not experiencing depression, let’s show love to our neighbours, let’s show concern to people passing through hard times, even if u can’t be the solution to their problem. Showing empathy will go a long way to giving relief to them.

Affection, love and support are the fastest antidotes to depression. The government should engage the citizens through the mass media to tackle suicide and suicide related activities same way the media was used to tackle the Ebola disease. We won the Ebola war, we will win the one against suicide too.

The life of every Nigerian counts and it should be preserved for the benefit of Nigerians at large.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Adesina Tosin Nathaniel is a Forward Looking Nigerian Youth. The author’s social media handles are @Donteewrites.  He also blogs at www.donteewrites.blogspot.com

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