How suicide is taking roots at OAU, UNN, other Nigerian varsities

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A final year student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has committed suicide following what he described as his inability to continue staying on life support.

Chukwuemeka Akachi was a student of English and Literary Studies, and a first-class one at that.

In a Facebook note he left before the act, Akachi said he had been battling with mental problem, and had been hooked on life support.

His was the seventh case of Nigerian undergraduates who felt frustrated enough to do themselves in. It was also the second case that would be recorded in UNN between 2012 and 2019.

Onyebuchi Okonkwo was studying physics and astronomy at the UNN. He was in his third year when he hanged himself on the school premises.

Another of the earliest incidents was in April 7, 2014.  Auwal Haruna, 30, was a student of the Taraba State University studying at the Nigerian aw School in Abuja. He was complicit in the murder of their father Mohammed. So he strung himself up in a hotel room when he went to Taraba.

There were no fewer than seven incidents between 2017 and 2018 involving varsity students taking their own lives over a range of reasons: depression occasioned by family problem, broken relationship, mental health, and exam failure.

Poor academic performance has actually led to two cases   at the Obafemi Awolowo University between 2017 and 2019.

So the OAU and the UNN are leading amongst Nigeria’s ivory towers where suicide is catching on.

The two methods the suicides mostly use are hanging and poisoning by insecticide Sniper. More than 90 percent of the cases involve Sniper or other poison, a choice of both male and female. On rare occasions do women take the noose.

A recent World Health Organisation (WHO)’s suicide ranking, showed that 800,000 people die globally from suicide every year, with 15.1 suicides per 100,000 people annually.

Nigeria now ranks the 30th most suicide-prone country out of 183 nations in the world.

It has also become the 10th African country with a higher rate of suicide, coming ahead of Togo (26th), Sierra Leone (11th), Angola (19th), Equatorial Guinea (7th), Burkina Faso (22nd) and Cote d’Ivoire (fifth).

Lagos leads in Nigeria with 15 reported cases.

And it’s not unlikely that undergraduates will be swelling the rank in the demographics of Nigerians prone to suicide, having recorded about 11 incidents in less than three years.

As of May 2019, the rate has increased about 90 percent of the total cases over the two previous years.

Timeline

October, 2017: Mercy Afolarami was 16, and at 100 level, studying microbiology at the Obafemi Awolowo University. She was said to have caved in under emotional pressure, and she gulped a lethal cocktail of rat poison and battery extract. Her friends however noted she also scored ‘E’ in CHM101.

February, 2018: Wilson Chukwudi of the Abia State University failed twice in his final year exams. He too killed himself.

March 10, 2018: Adams, studying computer engineering at the University of Benin, hanged himself right in his room at Ekosidi, Ovia Northeast LGA.

July 10 2018: Aduba Daniel, from the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa, downed a whole bottle of Sniper because he carried over four courses.

Nov 22, 2018: Jennifer Alongo, 21, was a computer science undergraduate who stabbed her cheating boyfriend, and later poisoned herself, thinking he was dead. He, however, survived it, but Alongo didn’t. Both were students of the Imo State University

Dec 2018: Aisha Omolola, a 300 level student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, was rejected by her mother and brother. In her suicide note where she thanked everybody else except her parents, she said she hoped the mother would find peace thereafter.

April 15, 2019: Tejiri Direia, 21, dropped out of the Delta State University in her third year of studying nursing science. She locked herself up in her room, and took Sniper.

April 18, 2019: Rebecca Michael, studying philosophy, at 100 level, Kogi State University, was down for a loveless relationship that ended then. The 20-year-old then drank Sniper.

April 23, 2019: Kolapo Olowoporoku was studying computer science at OAU, and had outstanding courses to clear while his mates graduated. He drank a poisonous substance when he failed again.

April, 2019: Charles Orji, a lover boy, from the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic’s estate management department, was badly shaken when his girlfriend, whom he allegedly cheated on, skipped out of their relationship. Before he drank Sniper, he sent his last message to the sister of his ex, warning her to take responsibility if anything happened to him that night.

May 1, 2019: Hikmat Gbadamosi was a 100-level student of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers, where she drank two bottles of Snipers, and died. The cause might not be related to finances, because she was from a rich family. But she left a video record where she said, “It worsens every time, and I don’t know who to call.”

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