The increasing wave of suicide cases in the country is taking a fearsome proportion and to say the least worryingly disturbing. Suicide, which is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death, is daily gaining currency. It is often carried out because of despair, the cause of which is frequently attributed to mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism or drug abuse, as well as stress factors such as financial difficulties, troubles with interpersonal relationships, and bullying.
So, in an attempt to desperately escape suffering or a troubling situation, some people commit suicide. Sadly, recent statistics from the World Health Organisation, WHO, shows that no fewer than a million people die annually from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. More disturbing also is the fact that there are an estimated 10 to 20 million attempted suicides every year. But the rate at which Nigerians now join this global tragedy of taking suicide is taking a dangerous trend.
Undoubtedly, suicide cases continue to pose a big problem to both Nigeria and the international community. For instance, WHO also reported that in 1990, it resulted in 712,000 deaths and in 2012 it was the second cause of death among young people between15-29 years, over 800,000 people died of suicide. While by 2013, it rose to 842,000 making it the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. WHO’s 2012 statistics also showed that out of Nigeria’s population, 6.5 per cent committed suicide out of which 10.3 per cent were male and 2.9 per cent were female.
Without a doubt, the rate of suicide cases is on the increase in the country in spite of the two major religions, Christianity and Islam, preaching against this bizarre act of ending one’s own life. Even our traditions and culture are against this wicked act, as it is seen as abominable. Yet, this act is on the increase in the country.
Just recently, a 21-year-old man, identified as Chinonso committed suicide after drinking a substance suspected to be rat poison in Byazhin village, Kubwa, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The deceased was said to have left a note for his mother, saying that he wanted “to go and rest.” Another 23-year-old man, Ugochukwu Ekwe, also committed suicide at FESTAC Town, Lagos, over the colour of his skin, being an albino. His dangling body was discovered in the apartment he lived with his parents and siblings in FESTAC Town. It was gathered that he refused to eat before the incidence; in protest of what he described as rejection and stigmatisation by people because of his skin condition.
Also, a father of four reportedly committed suicide by hanging in Oke Aro area of Akure, the Ondo state capital. The deceased, identified as Dayo, reportedly took his life when he found it difficult to fend for his family. It was learned that the deceased, a driver, had of recent been having problems with the owner of the commercial vehicle he drove.
In Onitea area of Osogbo in Osun State, a 27-year-old man, identified as Adekola Busari, hanged himself over his indebtedness to a microfinance bank, in spite of the fact that the amount payable was reduced to N18, 000. While, a man in his 50s hanged himself in Dutse Makaranta in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, due to his inability to meet up with his family responsibilities.
It would be recalled also with sadness how on April 29, 2013, Yinka Olonode, a former Rhythm FM presenter, who once adorned an MTN advert, committed suicide in the United States of America. He was reportedly to have jumped from the 15th floor of ‘The Nines Hotel’ at 525 S.W. Morrison St, Portland, Oregon. This sad news was followed shortly by that of Mr. Ndubuisi Brown, an 18-year-old Covenant University graduate of Economics and Development Studies, who hanged himself in his home. These stories are a few of the sad cases of this rising trend in the country.
Although, it is a statement of fact that people commit suicide for various reasons, such as relationship issues, broken spirit, poverty, mental instability, depression and even spiritual illness. Others include death of a loved ones; divorce or breakup of a relationship; losing custody of children; rejection by family members; physical and sexual abuse including rape; incarceration; drug and alcohol abuse; bullying and humiliation; molestation and stigmatisation. Also, a serious loss such as loss of job, house or money; terminal illness; hopelessness that sprout from feelings that things will never get better; a feeling of failure in life; financial problems; loneliness or social isolation; unemployment; war; mental illness; and family history.
But the main point is that it is usually due to crisis, untamed crises have over the years been identified as a major cause of suicide. And when people are struggling with something which they feel is too big to handle by themselves and the people around them, they result in suicide.
Since suicide is a taboo in our own clime, it is against this backdrop that the government, the society, parents and individuals have distinctive and collective roles to play in curbing the increasing tide of suicide in the country. Parents and family members are advised to avoid putting undue pressure on their dependants or children on any issue as they have the foremost role to play in identifying various warning signs and taking adequate and quick measures in addressing any suicidal symptoms. Family members must also strive to put away every instrument of suicide such as pills, knives, razors or firearms among others.
But more crucially is the role of religious leaders. They must continue to preach the significance of patience and perseverance in life, with teachings and examples of prophets and other virtuous men of God in the Holy books, not only in churches and mosques, but at every forum. Above all, government must wake up to its responsibilities in the area of job creation, education as well as encouraging the revival and strengthening of social welfare offices and rehabilitation centres across the nooks and crannies of the country.