Suicide and battle for the soul of Nigerian students

The federal and state governments have not said anything. For the politicians, pretentious technocrats and eggheads in the corridor of power, it is a season of jamboree. For Nigerian youths in various tertiary institutions, it is a season of anomie, writes Head, Education Desk, IYABO LAWAL on the rising cases of suicide among Nigerian students.

You would think he was joking – making an expensive joke.

“Everything about today is just bad… God help me. This month is not smiling,” he had posted on the internet.

“Why is today like this? God help me throughout this month. From June 1, everything hasn’t been good. All I want to do now is to commit a crime and be sentenced to life imprisonment. So, keep off so you won’t fall a victim.”

The sometimes indifferent internet users did not pay attention to him. But he continued to voice out his despondency.

“Life and education is something I don’t want again. I guess going off is the best for now,” he said in resignation. “I’m dropping this in case you call me and I’m not picking or you send a message and I’m not replying. God be with the living.”

Before he gulped the poisonous liquid, he made one last statement: “I regret ever coming to this world and I regret ever choosing to be educated. I swear. Ekiti State University (EKSU) you are cursed.”

Then, he gulped the poisonous content. Unlike many others, final-year EKSU student, Oluwafemi Akindeko was saved from taking his own life.

He had become despondent because of his academic difficulties. He was waiting for his results to be released so as to proceed for clearance for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.

But he flunked a major course – BUS 418 – which he believed meant an extra year in school.

However, under the distressing circumstance, the university public relations officer, Deji Aleshinloye demonstrated the inanity that has characterised many of Nigeria’s tertiary institution, the government, and society.

“The boy just finished and he just got his result of BUS 418, one of the second-semester examination results. You know when you fail a second-semester examination; it is going to be an extra year. And, it’s not a big deal,” Aleshinloye said sheepishly.

He ranted further: “It’s not about sniper now. Why do you have to go and take sniper? Life itself is not a straightforward thing. Who said you are not going to fail again? Do you know how many people have failed in this world? Do you know how many times Abraham Lincoln contested and lost?
Aleshinloye is not alone in that inanity.

Until his tenure expired as Nigeria’s minister of education, Adamu Adamu did not deem it necessary to address the incessant cases of suicide happening on campuses.

Isaac Adewole, erstwhile minister of health, was apparently unperturbed about the urgent need to make mental health a priority in the country even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised the alarm that many Nigerians are grappling with mental problems.

The erstwhile minister of youth and sports, Solomon Dalung, would rather lazy around beret-headed than think about how to get youths to explore their potential.

The federal and state governments have not said anything. For the politicians, pretentious technocrats and eggheads in the corridor of power, it is a season of jamboree. For Nigerian youths in various tertiary institutions, it is a season of anomie.

Sadly too, President Muhammadu Buhari and vice president Yemi Osinbajo could only muster a whimper when news headlines kept screaming, ‘Suicide!’ The Federal Government ordered a partial ban on the deadly insecticide, Sniper.

The fatal narratives of Nigerian students dying of suicides by the Nigerian media have hardly explored the underbellies of what often push promising youths to take their own lives.

To illustrate: Christabel Owoicho, a 300-level student at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) did not take her own life because of a failed love affair. There are strong indications she was raped before her tragic end. According to a claim by her uncle, Ben Bamiyi, she had been raped before she died of suicide.

“She had never had a boyfriend. Christabel was exceptionally brilliant,” Bamiyi had said.

Last May, Chukwuemeka Akachi was found dead in an uncompleted building at the Sullivan Road, Nsukka, reportedly after taking two bottles of Sniper.

“Forgive me. In case you are the one who found the body, I am really sorry. It had to be someone you know. I have chosen Jo Nketaih’s poem as my suicide note: They said you came looking for me. I didn’t drown, I was the water. Where do atheists go when they die? Lol. Amen,” he wrote in a Facebook post before he took his life.

He admitted what he was going through and it appeared he could not carry on again.

Akachi said: “My mental health has been on life support for a while now. Thanks to those who called, texted and visited. Speak to me. May we always remember. May we never forget. You may have added a few hours, months or days to my time here. But you know life support is expensive, right? Thank you for trying. Amen…”

Culled From TheGuardian Newspaper

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