A final year student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), during an interview with this reporter , disclosed how two students of the school have committed suicide in a semester.
The student preferred to be identified as Joseph spoke of a certain Tobi Miles nicknamed Rodriguez, who posted his picture on social media with the caption ‘I left the pains’ before he took his life last Thursday. He allegedly killed himself over financial constraints.
The Dean, Division of Students’ Affairs (DSA) of the school, Babatunde Idowu, confirmed the case and noted that the deceased was a student of Pure and Applied Botany.
This reporter learnt that few weeks ago, a female student of the school, who was withdrawn for poor academic performance, took her life. Mr. Babatunde added that the school also rescued two who attempted the act.
Although not an alien phenomenon in the country, the aforementioned cases add to the long list of suicide cases reported amongst Nigerian students since the beginning of 2019.
According to the data released by World Health Organisation, WHO, an estimated 800,000 people die by suicide annually and Nigeria now ranks among the top suicide prone countries.
Also, in the World Population Review, Nigeria, is with a crude suicide rate of 9.5 per 100, 000 population, ranks 10th in Africa and 67th in the world on the suicide table.
The Nigerian government, in a way to curb the upsurge, has placed a ban on the manufacturing of small bottles of ‘Sniper’, an agro-chemical that has increasingly become a choice of persons contemplating suicide.
Asides the two cases from FUNAAB, checks by this paper revealed that over thirteen suicide cases amongst students in various tertiary institutions were reported between January till August 2019.
However, while the causes of some are yet to be unraveled, this analysis showed that most of the students took their lives owing to depression from poor academic performance, failed relationships and financial incapacitation.
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As reported by PUNCH newspaper, Ridwan Ajiboye, a National Diploma 1 student of the Civil Engineering Department, Federal Polytechnic, Offa in Kwara State, reportedly drank some quantity of insecticide after he was allegedly embarrassed by one of his lecturers, who gave him some handouts to sell to his course mates.
Although the school refuted the allegation, the school spokesperson, Olayinka Iroye told this reporter that the institution has commenced investigation but as at the time of filing this report, the school has not come up with a plausible reason.
Tejiri Direia, a 21-year-old female student of the Delta State University, DELSU, who is reported to have dropped out from the Department of Nursing, committed suicide at her Abraka residence in Ethiope East local government area of the state.
According to Vanguard newspaper, her parents were immediately contacted and that was when it was discovered that she had since dropped out from the university and we believe she was forced to end her life out of frustration.”
A 100-level Student of Kogi State University, Ayingba, Miss Rebecca Michael, reportedly committed suicide shortly after her boyfriend broke up with her.The deceased, who took her life in their 200-housing unit residence in Lokoja, according to sources, was within the age of 20.
Daily Post reported that, the deceased drank sniper when her boyfriend, who is a prominent DJ in Lokoja told her that he was no longer interested in the relationship.
After drinking the poisonous substance, she was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre where she gave up the ghost.
Kolapo Olowoporoku, a student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife, swallowed a poisonous substance, which led to his death on Sunday.after repeatedly failing some courses.
Premium Times learnt that Mr Olowoporoku was an ‘extra year’ Computer Science student who ought to have graduated two sessions ago but was delayed as a result of two outstanding courses. His mates graduated in the 2016/2017 academic session.
A 100-level student of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Hikmat Gbadamosi, was alleged to have consumed two bottles of insecticide, Sniper, on a Saturday and found dead in her room on Monday.
PUNCH Metro, while citing a video clip of Gbadamosi that surfaced on the Internet after her death, stated that she suffered from depression.
A student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) student, Chukwuemeka Ugwuoke, set off in the early hours of May 13 to an uncompleted building within the school axis and allegedly drank two bottles of substance suspected to be “sniper’’ insecticide.
Also, it was gathered that shortly after allegedly consuming the substance, he called his friends on phone that he has done it and his friends, rushing promptly to the scene, discovered him gasping for breath and life.
However, according to a SaharaReporters’ report, all efforts by the passersby, who rushed him to UNN Federal Medical Centre to revive him, turned futile as he was declared dead at the hospital.
Zakah Timi Ebiweni, a 300-level medical student of the Niger Delta University (NDU), committed suicide by plunging into a river close to the university campus, Amassoma located in the Southern Ijaw area council of Bayelsa state
Ndoni Ingezi, public relations officer of the university who spoke to SaharaReporters said: “Eniweni took his own life after news that he was part of 22 students shortlisted to be withdrawn from the college came out.
A student of the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra State popularly known as Mr HOD, committed suicide after he drank sniper and called his close friends to tell them that his going to a journey of no return.
According to reports, the man from Enugu State, called his close friends on Wednesday, to tell them that he was going on a journey of no return before drinking Sniper, a lethal pesticide which has become a popular choice for suicidal Nigerians.
A Higher National Diploma, HND 2 student of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ezekiel Joseph Mayowa, committed suicide by drinking sniper, an insecticide, after his girlfriend of nine years left him for a rich suitor.
Late Mayowa, before committing the dastardly act, the part-time student of Hospitality Management, went live on his Facebook page, Thursday night, dangling a bottle of sniper. From the video clip, he was seen crying in his room, at the Ikorodu campus.
A 29-year- student of Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi, Solomon Benedict, committed suicide for what he described as his ‘financial misfortune’.
The late student, whose name was given as, was said have mixed insecticide with yogurt and drank it.
A female friend of the deceased, who pleaded anonymity told The Nation newspaper that; “For sometimes now he has been telling me he would kill himself if his financial situation did not improve but I never believed he meant it.
A final-year student of the Department of Religion and Culture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Samuel Elias, 25, committed suicide by taking sniper.
The mother of the deceased, Mrs Kate Elias, an employee of the university, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the incident occurred on Monday, said Samuel could have died of depression, noting that he had been lamenting his inability to graduate from the UNN because of his final project.
Christabel Omore Buoro Owoicho, a 300-level student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) committed suicide after she was raped.
Although earlier reports had said she committed suicide because of a strained relationship with her boyfriend, her friend and uncle who made this revelation said she was raped before she committed suicide.
She was said to have locked herself indoors after her roommate had left the hostel, increased the volume of her music player, left a note and committed the act.
A final year student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Opeyemi Dara, reportedly committed suicide after taking a dose of the lethal substance known as ‘Sniper’.
It was gathered that Ms Opeyemi’s death was seemingly attributed to poor academic performance as she was yet to submit her final year project.
However, in a press release issued by the school’s spokesperson, Abiodun Olanrewaju, the school narrated that the deceased first attempted suicide and was rescued at the University Teaching Hospital on April 22.
Schools blame the society
The management of some of the schools have blamed the society and its constituents for the unfortunate incidents.
In separate interviews with this platform, the Dean of the Division of Students Affairs in FUNAAB, Babatunde Idowu and OAU spokesperson, Abiodun Olanrewaju, claimed their schools have put up mechanisms for students battling with depression.
“We have met all the students in the university hostels. Having a timeout with them, counselling as early as 7:00am. The university Is planning a programme to educate them and to go around and make flyers and posters. The university radio is already doing so much,” Mr. Babatunde said.
“Organisations on campus and off-campus have come around to sensitise and organise enlightenment programmes.”
Mr. Babatunde highlighted that the parents of some students faced with academic challenges have not been helping matters by not giving moral supports when needed.
“This major problem comes from home. It got nothing to do with the university. Some of the parents need to be taught how well they should relate with their children. Some of them think it is about money. I know of parents who do not have time for the children because of a reason or the other.”
According to Mr. Olanrewaju, the upsurge is due to the way people handle challenges coupled with the idea of keeping to one’ self which is prevalent in this age.
“It depends on how people handle situations and challenges. We should our brother and sisters’ keepers because this idea of minding my own business… People who have challenges don’t seek people around them for counsel. Sitting down, seeing people to talk to.”
Speaking on the school’s efforts, he stated that the school counsellors are ready to listen to the students at all times and the lecturers have been instructed to be closer to the students.
“We have the highest number of guardians and counsellors in all Nigerian institutions and the Vice- Chancellor has instructed the Deans of all faculties, Head of departments and all course advisers should be closer to their students.”
“It is a dicey situation because if they are females, the officer will be weary to avoid sex scandals,” He added
Expert tasks parents, school authorities
The Provost of the Institute of Counselling Nigeria, Tolulope Oko-Igaire, in an interview with this paper called on parents, guardians and school authorities as major players in the bid to curb suicide.
“This has a lot to do with what we consider as success. Now success is about having money, buying cars, flaunting money… That puts pressure on those who can not meet up with that standard of success.”
“It starts from change of mindset. I told one my clients yesterday that it is okay to fail. Failure is part of development.”
“Another thing is on parenting- putting a lot of pressure on the children, not paying attention to certain signals, not noticing changes. As parents, we need to be sensitive at home.”
Mrs Oko-Igaire explained the role of the school authorities and questioned the ineffectiveness of the counselling and psychology departments.
“Putting pressure on students about grades is what the school should avoid. The schools have psychology departments and counselling departments. What are they doing?”
“Are they really putting them to use that students can feel safe and get help?”
She however noted some categories of people that the society should take cognizance of because their personalities are prone to committing suicide.
“Melancholic people can be very analytical. They explain to themselves to the point of committing suicide. Phlegmatic people don’t talk. They prefer dealing with issues on their own.”