Opinion: Nigerian youths and the lure of death via suicide By – CHIEDU OKOYE
A BRITISH historian said that death is the consequence of birth. The greatest dramatist of all times, William Shakespeare, in his remarkable comment about death, said it is a necessary end that will come when it will come. In fact, our shrouds of death are being woven intricately as soon as we are born. So, time bears us on its craft to eternity.
But has the reality of the inevitability of death dawned on us? We mourn the passage of our relations, friends, and parents because we can’t reverse their deaths. So, dating back to millions of years ago, mystics, reverend fathers, Islamic mullahs, Buddhists, and others have been making spiritual investigations to unravel the mysteries of death. The mystics teach their adherents that imperfect human beings will continue to reincarnate on earth until they become perfect by liquidating their karmic debts. They hold that offsetting of their karmic debts is supposed to aid their ascent to higher spiritual dimensions.
Although our beliefs about death border on the indestructibility or immortality of the soul of man, we still dread death. Nobody wants to die. Even those who are terminally ill cling to life and pray fervently for God’s healings to change their bad and sad health conditions. Those living on the margins of society, who are underprivileged, work tirelessly to achieve break-through in their endeavours, which will improve their lot in life.
They do not want to die, although they’re suffering. The Kola Animashaun we knew, by Buhari, Sultan, Tinubu, others(Opens in a new browser tab) However, Nigeria is now in the firm grip of the epidemic of suicide. From the sun-baked land of Yola to the marshy creeks of the Niger Delta, from the urbane coal-city of Enugu to the boisterous Lagos, we hear morbid tales about those who killed themselves. Incredibly, the suicides were people in the prime of their lives.
Young educated Nigerians are embracing suicide, which is the devil’s alternative. Our young people’s embracing of suicide as a way of escapism has got to an alarming and disturbing dimension. Till now, in Igbo land, South-East Nigeria, it is a sacrilegious act for a man to kill himself. Here, in Igbo land, we do not perform funeral ceremonies for suicides. They are ignominiously wrapped in cloths and thrown into dense forests, where wild beasts will feast on them.
After that, a traditional medicine man will be invited to cleanse his family house to prevent recurrence of such evil and despicable act in future. Chinua Achebe’s fictive and anthropological novel, Things Fall Apart, offers us insight and elucidation on suicide. It is not only the Igbo custom that frowns at suicide. The Christian religion is condemnatory of it, too. The Bible exhorts us to seek God’s intercession when we are experiencing existential problems. Our Christian clerics do urge us to exercise faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ and pin our hope on Christ, who is the ransom for our sins. It is an indisputable fact that no religions, which are practised by people(s) of the earth, approve of people to take their own lives.
The act of committing suicide by people is perceived as an act of cowardice by adherents of many religions. Instead, religious teachers do exhort us to continue exercising faith in the love and limitless powers of the sovereign of the universe. But since the epidemic of suicide broke out in Nigeria, this question has been agitating our minds: Why do seemingly imperturbable people commit suicide? People take their lives for variety of reasons like depression, impecuniousness, betrayals in relationships, failures in academics and business, psychiatric problems, drug addiction, and others. In today’s Nigeria, our economy is so grossly mismanaged that millions of Nigerians are living below the breadline owing to their joblessness.
Yet, our universities, polytechnics and other schools still churn out graduates who join the growing number of unemployed people in the country. So owing to these people’s hopelessness, impecuniousness, and the non-existence of love among us, innumerable unemployed people and others, who had suffered privations, took their lives in the recent past. A civil servant in Kogi State, who was owed arrears of salary by the state government, killed himself after his wife was delivered of a baby some years ago. But it’s not only the dire economic situation in our country that predisposes or compels people to do hara-kiri.
Here, cuckolds do kill themselves, too. In Nigeria, many people chose the path of suicide upon their discovery that their wives had cuckolded them and bore children who are not biologically their own children. As they could not live with the shame and the betrayal they suffered, they decided to do themselves in. Some ladies did themselves harm when their boyfriends threw them over for other beautiful ladies. Some days ago, an undergraduate of University of Benin, Christabel Buoro, killed herself because her boyfriend jilted her.
Some Nigerians had taken their own lives owing to their failures to realise their goals in the areas of academic and business. They thought themselves under-achievers and the rejects of society; consequently, they committed suicide. And it’s a known fact that bereavements can cause people to experience bouts of depression, which make them susceptible to romanticising the idea of committing suicide. Individuals with psychiatric or mental cases emanating from their intake of hard drugs or hereditary factors are liable to committing suicide if they’re are not properly monitored and treated.
In order to stem the tide of suicide in Nigeria, governments at different levels in our dear country should implement economic measures to ameliorate our people’s sufferings. Our leaders should diversify the economy to create job opportunities for unemployed people in the country. More so, clerics should not cease to encourage their followers to continue reposing faith in God rather than committing suicide. There is the urgent need in Nigeria for our schools to train many more psychiatrists, who can treat millions of Nigerians who are suffering from mental illnesses, which can predispose them to commit suicide. Vanguard