In recent rankings, Nigeria has had the misfortune of falling into the top 20 countries with the highest rates of suicides annually. And suicide, on the other hand happens to be one of the top 10 leading causes of mortality, especially in adolescents.
In the recently concluded year 2019, an incredible surge was noticed in the rates of teenage and youth suicides and it was almost a trend. Very young and promising individuals have gone down the rabbit hole and ended their lives in very tragic and disturbing ways. News of people who saw suicide as a means of ending their self-evaluated ‘miserable lives’, as well as those who almost carried it out flooded social and mainstream media. Cases of students who couldn’t cope with failures in examinations, young boys and girls who were heartbroken by their lovers as well as those who just fell into the pit of depression due to hardship and other related issues were well abound and one could almost not go a full day without reading up news about a particular suicide incident.
There was also a particular increase in the popularity of ‘Sniper’, a herbicide made up of potent chemical compounds very poisonous when ingested, which was often reported as the killing agent in suicide reports. Although this gave rise to a government restriction placed on the sale of the herbicide in retail outlets, other means of suicide such as jumping in lakes, self-asphyxiation and ingestion of other poisonous substances. As crazy as it sounds, the wave of suicidal attempts and actions were met with almost comical and ridiculous reactions.
Hundreds of memes and comedy videos were made on the topic. It was basically a norm of seeing amusing reactions and comments under a social media post reporting a suicide attempt. All these served to mask the real menace and alarming rate at which suicide was being carried out. One could say that there was more suicide being committed which doesn’t find it way to mainstream or social media than which was always reported. It was really sad that nothing really important was done to check the situation and it was almost an every day thing, such that people were expecting suicide of certain people who were dealing with a disappointment or the other. Although we can say the rates of reports on suicides have obviously reduced, it hasn’t been stopped. Nigeria is still among the top 20 suicidal countries in the world. This is a big call to various organisation and the government to check the menace.
Written by Lehma Adebayo (El ziino)