• Saturday, April 20, 2024
businessday logo


A sniper-friendly generation: Suicide is ‘NOT’ an option and…it shall come to pass!


Four months ago, I complained about the ease with which youths of this generation readily and without much ado, took their lives or the lives of others (Other matters: A death-friendly generation, BusinessDay. 23/5/19). My concern was that it appeared that our general desire to stay longer on this side of the divide, our value for human life and the awe with which we held death, are all becoming things of the past. I illustrated my concerns with five incidents that were “fresh” as at then and asked nobody in particular, “what is happening?”

But as things turned out, I had complained too soon! A spate of juvenile suicides, which started in the “white-man’s land” soon became usual in our campuses and other parts of the society. From other parts of the world, a 10-year-old boy from Namibia committed suicide while being urged on by a computer game; a 9-year-old girl committed suicide in Canada because she was bullied by her friends and another 16-year-old Malaysian girl killed herself when she did an online poll and 64 percent of her friends voted for death.

Those her friends who voted for death are probably still alive! A 19-year-old Cambridge student killed herself by jumping off a plane because of project-related academic challenges and then, a 13-year-old boy committed suicide because the girl he had a crush on, already had a boyfriend (13-year-old boy killing himself over a potential girl-friend!)

When the suicide wild-fire (which is still razing) came calling on our shores, it was like everything we do… in excess. Our undergraduates and youths started killing themselves, because of what those of us who are nearer to where we are going to than where we are coming from, see as non-issues. Our youths committed suicide because they had disagreements with their bed mates, because the girls “ported” to other boys or vice versa and because they had academic challenges- projects, poor results and several carry-overs.

The most recent in my data-base killed himself because he had three “carry-overs” while another killed himself because the mother could not give him N700, now-now! The mother had assured him of the money the following day! 80 percent of the recent undergraduate and youth suicides were mostly due to failed romance, failed projects and failed academic performance and almost all of them used sniper, a harmless looking pesticide as an instrument of suicide.

We are now in a sniper-friendly generation!

Our youths now found solace in sniper-induced suicide, forgetting that whatever can get worse can also get better (Baldwin). They forget that the main problem is refusing to get up, not falling down; that the route to success is usually narrow, that a road that had no bumps and obstacles invariably led to doom and that the arrow is usually pulled back before being shot forward.

They forget that all the big-names they dream to be like had passed through the desert-experience, when they were down and out. They want to learn from their counterparts overseas, forgetting that when the rat jumps into the waters with the lizard, the later will come out dry while it will come out wet.

After all, while Dino Melaye has been in and out of court for “attempted suicide”, the Red-Roof Inn in Columbus is unabashedly advertising its “cheap” suicidal suites ($60/day) for those who want “comfortable, quick and relatively painless death.”

Suicide is not a youth-only affair and even those who are knowledgeable about such matters are falling into the allure of suicide. As the world was celebrating the world suicide prevention day (10/9/19), Gregory Eells, the executive director of counselling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania died by suicide.

It is also not an undergraduates-only affair as a 17-year-old bride in somewhere up north set herself on fire because the groom could not afford the N17000 dowry demanded by her parents. Now, how does setting herself on fire solve the problem? The WHO, worried by the increasing rate of suicide globally (40 suicides per second) has suggested the ban of dangerous pesticides like sniper.

However, long before the at last suicide prevention day and the activities that followed it, the OOU, management took a proactive approach to the issue. It organized a five-day programme in July for thousands of students in the four campuses of the university.

The programme tagged “Suicide is Not an Option” had the University Management, led by G.O Olatunde, the Vice chancellor in attendance and the speakers addressed the issue of depression and suicide from diverse perspectives: general, sociological, guidance and counselling, medical and spiritual perspectives. The youths were also involved because all the sessions were addressed by Student Unions executives. The students came out in large numbers, offered meaningful feedbacks and gave the OOU management fresh insights to issues that might lead to depression and suicide.

The scourge of juvenile suicide is here with us and may not be in a hurry to abate. The “OOU-model” is a useful approach to this challenge but more coordinated and sustainable nationwide efforts are needed by governments, NGOs and religious organisations, which market faith and hope.

My advice to youths is that suicide is “NOT” an option. In any case, if one kills himself because of one girl, then he has lost the opportunity of encountering 1001 other girls and very often, the night is darkest just before the dawn.

Persevere, share your challenges with the significant others and always remember; you are not alone and…it shall come to pass.

Other matters: This odd world!

This is a very odd world indeed and what is odd depends on the reality of the person interpreting the oddity. The other day, a so-called pastor was doing unholy things with another woman in a public swimming pool and his congregants were cheering them up, taking pictures and mouthing religious incantations.

They said it was holy, “holy?” in a holy pool!

And just the other day a group of 50 percent naked South African damsels were dancing and dangling these unmentionable things in public and they said it was an exhibition of Zulu culture. Earlier this month, Lilian a mother of 3 and Millicent, a mother of two, exchanged their husband (marital trade by batter) in a queer effort to find happiness! Lilian’s husband had married Millicent, (another man’s wife) as his second wife. Lilian then decided to get even by convincing Millicent’s husband to marry her. They eventually had a reconciliatory meeting and agreed to take it as it is and now, they happily legally married!

Millicent’s new husband enthused that the new “wife” gave him peace of mind!

In faraway France, an appeal court had just ruled that a married man who died while indulging in an “away match” (adultery) during a business trip, actually died of work-place accident! This strange ruling makes it possible for his family to derive some benefits for the adultery-induced death!

And back to Kenya, (Kenya again!) four women, viciously fought over the corpse of a boda-boda (okada) rider, who died in an accident, claiming that he was their husband. They all had sons for the man (a very active man indeed!) but none of them lived with him. They had to jointly authorise the release and burial of the corpse after being promised shares in his “wealth”.

I wonder the quantum of wealth left by an okada driver! But as we are wondering at the oddities from other parts of the world, people from the other parts of the world may also be laughing at our own oddity; a nation where the life of a cattle is worth more than the lives of multiples of citizens! Odd world, isn’t it?