24th February 2024
Hardship In The Land: Suicides Spike

– 82 cases recorded in Lagos in seven months – LASEMA

By Esther Onyegbula, Vanguard News

Hardship in the land compounded by the removal of petrol subsidy has pushed more Nigerians below the poverty line. Consequently, suicides have risen sharply.

The latest is the case of a yet-to-be-identified man who jumped into Lagos lagoon from the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge in Lagos State on Tuesday.

Frantic efforts by operatives of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), and Marine Police to rescue the victim were unfruitful.

His body was recovered on Wednesday by emergency services.

Similarly, last month, a young man identified as Saifullahi committed suicide over his inability to pay the N250,000 debt he allegedly owed in Shata village, Bosso local government area of Niger State.
The ugly incident left the community in a state of shock.

Saifullahi’s body was found hanging from a rope in his bedroom by his neighbors.

In a similar development, in June 2023, Samuel Adegoke, a 200-level student of Electrical/Electronics’ Department at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro took his life by consuming a bottle of insecticide after losing his school fees and those of his friend to online sports betting.

On his part, a 20-year-old, identified as Sodiq Olayemi, committed suicide in Lagos.

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Sodiq’s body was found hanging inside an uncompleted building in Epe area of the state.

Like these victims, several Nigerians are taking their lives daily because of the economic situation that has bedeviled the country.

While some succeed in going through with their suicide plans, others are lucky to have been rescued while carrying out their plan.

On Wednesday, August 9, 2023, Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (YOSEMA) rescued a 30-year-old man (name withheld) in Damaturu, the state capital, from attempted suicide.

According to reports, the survivor, a resident of Hon. Mai Mala Housing Estate along Gashua Road, Damaturu, Yobe State, consumed rat poison out of frustration and the economic hardship faced as a result of the petrol subsidy removal.

But for the timely intervention of officials of YOSEMA who rushed the man to hospital where doctors treated and counseled him, he would be dead.

Frantic efforts by operatives of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), and Marine Police to rescue the victim were unfruitful.

His body was recovered on Wednesday by emergency services.

Similarly, last month, a young man identified as Saifullahi committed suicide over his inability to pay the N250,000 debt he allegedly owed in Shata village, Bosso local government area of Niger State.
The ugly incident left the community in a state of shock.

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Saifullahi’s body was found hanging from a rope in his bedroom by his neighbors.

In a similar development, in June 2023, Samuel Adegoke, a 200-level student of Electrical/Electronics’ Department at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro took his life by consuming a bottle of insecticide after losing his school fees and those of his friend to online sports betting.

On his part, a 20-year-old, identified as Sodiq Olayemi, committed suicide in Lagos.

Sodiq’s body was found hanging inside an uncompleted building in Epe area of the state.

Like these victims, several Nigerians are taking their lives daily because of the economic situation that has bedeviled the country.

While some succeed in going through with their suicide plans, others are lucky to have been rescued while carrying out their plan.

On Wednesday, August 9, 2023, Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (YOSEMA) rescued a 30-year-old man (name withheld) in Damaturu, the state capital, from attempted suicide.

According to reports, the survivor, a resident of Hon. Mai Mala Housing Estate along Gashua Road, Damaturu, Yobe State, consumed rat poison out of frustration and the economic hardship faced as a result of the petrol subsidy removal.

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But for the timely intervention of officials of YOSEMA who rushed the man to hospital where doctors treated and counseled him, he would be dead.

Also in Adamawa state, a POS operator, Usman, allegedly gulped a bottle of pesticide following the ruling of a court presided over by a judge, Hon. Shehu Mustapha, that he should pay back a debt of N1.75m he owed a friend, Mustapha Baraya.

It was learned that he borrowed N1.9 million from the friend to run POS business but had only refunded N150, 000.

Usman and his father were given one month to repay the loan and they promised to do so once they harvested their rice farm but again reneged on their promise.

The court then ordered that Usman’s house which was given to him by his father be sold to raise the money to repay the loan.

At the court sitting, Usman, who came to court with the insecticide, entered the judge’s chamber and emptied the content into his mouth which made him vomit before losing consciousness.

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According to data made available by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) to Sunday Vanguard, between January and July 2023 (seven months), a total of 82 cases of suicide were recorded in Lagos alone.
In July alone, LASEMA said there were 22 cases of suicide.

Also, the spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed that the State Command recorded three reported suicide incidents each in June and July in the state.

Explaining how harsh economic situation contributes to increasing suicide rate, the founder of Loretta Health Initiative (LHI), Dr Loretta Ogboro-Okor, a UK-based consultant and medical simulator, said economic situations when they go sour, when there is inflation or general downturn of the economy, as we are witnessing in the world today, with all the inflation and post-COVID crisis and fiscally in our country, you are bound to have a huge period of stress on the population.

She said: “This situation will trigger hormones that are magnified in periods of stress. That would worsen not just the physical health condition of people, but also their mental health conditions.

“So, if we want to actually divide this, we can divide it into the physical problems that will occur which worsen diseases and increase organic diseases.

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“This is because of just not having the money to buy the medications and manage pre-existing diseases, but then there is also that other group of people who would develop depression or anxiety that disrupts their quality of life.

“In this case, they don’t have control over their condition and then they spiral down the sad pathway of suicide. There’s a lot of evidence in history that has shown this during the Great Depression in the 1930s. It was in 2008 when there was a great financial crisis as well.

“We had a database that showed that suicide rates increased during that period. Interestingly, it was a time when we should actually all be vigilant and take a call to action.”

Explaining further, Ogboro-Okor said: “It is also interesting to know that when these things happen, the male population is more affected and it is the working age group that is more affected in the male population.

“I think the reason is not far-fetched because they have always been the fenders for most of the families, especially in most social cultural traditions like Nigeria, where men are the primary breadwinners and you find that they shoulder a lot.

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“So, by the time the downturn occurs, it is the working-class men who suffer the most. They tend to commit suicide more successfully than females.”

Speaking on the impact of the current economic situation in the country, Reverend Father Charles Onwordi of St. Dominic Catholic Church, Yaba said the Church has been with people from cradle to the grave.

“We have shared in the joy of people and we have shared in their pain”, Onwordi said.

“We know the situation of our country and a lot of people come to the Church to seek peace amidst hardship.
“In other parts of the world, you refer people to the psychologist. But here we offer these services for free. That’s why we have fewer depression or suicide cases in our county. The Church has been there for the people. We have been there to make our societies better by being with the people and helping them to be balanced.”

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