Awka residents on Tuesday expressed concern over the increasing wave of suicide in Nigeria, saying that the phenomenon posed serious challenge to government at all levels.
The people spoke against the backdrop of the United Nations World Suicide Prevention Day, which comes up every Sept. 10, to create necessary awareness and provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicide.
A cross-section of the people, who spoke on the significance of the day, described suicide as evil that could be tackled through appropriate government policies.
An industrialist, Mr Godwin Ezeemo, said the day had a lot of significance in the collective desire to halt the unwholesome act.
Ezeemo asked, “When you cannot create life why do you take it?
He said that suicide should not be an option, no matter the situation faced by any individual.
“I encourage people to be optimistic in life, devise means of sustaining oneself when faced with life challenges. Suicide is no option in life trials,” he said .
Ezeemo urged government at all levels to develop economic policies that would enable people’s businesses to thrive, no matter the size, to enable them to fend for themselves.
“Political leaders should ensure that the welfare of the people is paramount in their policies to cushion the harsh effect of the current economic hardship,” he said.
Also, Ifeanyi Emegwa, a Canon of the Church of the Pentecost, Awka Anglican Diocese, described the idea of suicide as devilish and a sin before God.
“There is no problem prayers cannot solve. People should resort to prayer to God and put their faith in God who is ever ready to answer them.
The Traditional Ruler of Ezira, Igwe Samnuel Uche, said that suicide was not just a sin before God who is the giver of life but a taboo in Igboland.
Uche kicked against the choice of suicide at moments of economic hardship and depression, saying that people “should have patience at times of difficulties.”
He further urged people to see life in a positive light and work diligently to achieve their desired goals in life.
A student, Chibukem Daluchukwu, said that although suicide is morally bad, it is usually propelled by hardship.
Daluchukwu called on government at different levels to initiate measures to cushion the current economic hardship and improve the living standards of the people.
He also called for a conducive learning environment, in order to reduce financial, social and educational stress that often induced the urge to commit suicide among students.
A civil servant, Mrs Sera Okafor, said that the rising spate of suicide could be checked, if government at all levels should create policies for economic growth.
Okafor said that poor masses in Nigeria would have less issues to bother about should government do the needful by providing basic social amenities.
She said, “Government should provide affordable housing, education and health care. These would go a long way in cushioning the worries of the people.”
Mrs Ngozi Imegwu urged the National Orientation Agency to increase its sensitisation on the need for Nigerians to shun suicide as solution to life challenges.
Imegwu said that various groups, including non-governmental organisations, churches and traditional institution, should join the campaign against suicide.
The Global Health Observatory, the World Health Organisation’s gateway to health-related statistics, puts the suicide rate globally at 11.4 per cent in every 100 persons.
In Nigeria, it was reported that 9.5 per cent suicide was recorded out of every 100 persons, making the country the fifth in the world.
(Edited by Shittu Obassa/Sam Oditah)