Suicide could be seen as an act of intentionally causing one’s own death or taken one’s life forcefully. However, the most popular kind of suicide is by hanging.
The incidence has become alarming as Nigerians have continued to lament the increasing number of suicide cases in the country. In the last one year 80 people have reportedly committed suicide in Nigeria. This number is only the ones reported by the media as so many others might not have been reported because of how suicide is perceived accross different cultures in Nigeria and Africa.
The World Health Organisation’s suicide ranking, showed that eight hundred thousand people die globally from suicide every year and Nigeria now ranks the 30th most suicide-prone country out of 183 nations in the world. Nigeria is also ranked the 10th African country with a higher rate of suicide.
Many have blamed suicide incidents on various factors; including, economical, psychological, sociological variables as well as the possibility of spiritual invocation ochestrated by evil men and women in the society. By and large, causative reasons for suicide vary from mental disorders, financial difficulty, marital problems, academic challenges, depression and rejection among others which are breakdown of those factors already mentioned. The authorities of Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative of Nigeria recently explained that more than 90 percent of those who died by suicide had depression.
This upsurge resurfaced recently with an alarming rate to the level that hardly does a week passes without media reports about suicide incident. From February this year, it was as if the heavens were let loose with more reported cases of suicide. For instance, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan was reported to have taken his own life as a result of frustration amidst his pursuit of Ph.D degree in Mathematics for about 21 years. There was a case of a young man, who committed suicide because his girl friend sent him a text message informing him that the relationship was over. Another one was the final year one female student of University of Port Harcourt who killed herself as result of purported mental issue as well as a breakup with her boyfriend . There was equally an incident of suicide by a year one female student of Benue State University, who took her life because her boyfriend who is a popular Disc Jockey (DJ) in the area ended the relationship she had with him. There was yet a case of a 1st Class student University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who committed suicide purportedly due to mental problem. A 300 level medical student of the Niger Delta University committed suicide because he failed his Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) examination. A final-year student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, reportedly
took his own life after several attempts to make his outstanding courses as an extra year student of Computer Science at the University. Frustration alledgely overwhelmed him when he saw his mates take part in the school convocation and mobilised for NYSC programme. Also added to the profusion of suicide cases witnessed in Nigeria in recent times was suicide of a music leader in one of the popular penticostal churches in Abuja, who did the act over an alleged accommodation rentage challenge. There was a case of a personal steward to out-gone Governor of Borno State, who hanged himself on a tree at the State Government House, about 48 hours before the administration of his boss finally ended. The list of the suicide incidents seem endless.
It is obvious that suicide is not only related to Nigeria but a general societal menace, hence, the need for government, families, individuals and religious leaders to close the gap in the handling of depression which has been proven to constitute a major factor leading to suicide. This is necessary because depression is one of the challenges in the country today. Nigeria government at all levels is expected to remedy the situation by providing what would make citizens comfortable, including unemployment benefits, good infrastructure and economy, because lack of these among others could lead to depression.
Parents and family members, teachers, churches and non governmental organizations are expected to find a way to help those who are in trouble. When one notices that his relation, friend, colleague, staff and even church member starts to be alone, absconds from work or religious activities, takes to alcoholism unusually and seems not to be speaking out, one should know that things are gradually falling apart and should get involved to ensure such person is given the needed attention. Nothing stops religious organizations, relatives, colleagues, friends and well wishers from assisting families with economic challenges. Pastors and religious leaders should extend their counseling beyond marriage and settling family quarels to taken up series of seminars and public lectures targeted at reducing the incidents of suicide that has become almost a daily occurrence. Prayers should also be intensified to stop the activities of those who intentionally and wickedly invoke suicide actions on their victims
Therefore the issue of clinging to God Almighty cannot be over-emphasized. After all , it is the Bible that says in Mathew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. Indeed, true comfort and help do not come from abroad but above, where the Lord dwells.
Come to think of it, economical, social and psychological challenges including depressions are part of life. Life has never and would never promise anyone absolute comfort. Jesus Christ himself stated that in the world people shall have tribulation but encouraged all to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. Therefore, one has to encourage himself at all times, especially, in the times of need and know that suicide is never an option. Additionally, everybody claims to be religious in Nigeria and no religion in Nigeria encourages the act of taking one’s life under any circumstance. Therefore, it is important that one opens up to reasonable men and women whose good counsels and direction could be of great help.
Life is sacred and no one has the power to take his own life. Hence suicide is never the best option.
The Bible has cautioned everyone against anxiety. Philippians chapter 4:6 to 7 advises believers thus “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. These should be the best approach to curb the unfortunate increasing rate of suicide in Nigeria.
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Staff of Abia State Ministry of Information