By Jérôme-Mario Utomi
It is Adebola B. Ekanola, specialist in African philosophy and the philosophy of peace, who, writing on the subject Towards lasting social peace in a society plagued by violence; From a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence, said that a good starting point for the peace education process would be an analysis and clarification of some of the key concepts and principles such as “peace”, “violence”, “justice” and ” Nonviolence “.
As concepts and principles relating to social peace are analyzed, constant efforts, he advised, must be made to propagate what they represent across the different levels of society with a view to to get people to accept them and also to desire to work towards the realization of social institutions and appropriate social conditions.
Indeed, the above proposal arrived a few days ago, following two separate but related events.
The first is the reported suicide of former Niger Delta activist Friday Igbegbe, who allegedly committed suicide on Saturday evening in Ogbe-Ijoh, the headquarters of the southwest Warri local government area in Delta state, through one means, after a long battle with depression, leaving behind around 36 children and many “women”.
The second is a comment reported by Dr Titilyo Tade, Deputy Director of Medico-Social Services at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Training Coordinator, Suicide Research Prevention Initiative (SUPRIN), focused on augmentation and relentlessness. suicide cases in Nigeria.
Tade in this report said that the suicide rate in Nigeria in 2019 was 6.9 / 100,000, which is higher than the rate of 6.5 in 2012; but underreported or poorly coded.
Dr Tade said the reason was that suicide is still a criminal offense, with the shortage of mental health personnel, cultural and religious beliefs about mental health and the stigma surrounding suicide.
Tade revealed it while talking about the subject Suicide prevention as a path to hope: the SUPRIN experience, at the first Vanguard Health Summit on the theme Mobilizing for systematic change and better mental health care in Nigeria.
She added that 7.2% of cases referred to LUTH’s psychiatric services were suicide-related cases.
Speaking of the number of suicide deaths, Tade said: “The number of reported suicide deaths in 2019 is 7,019, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) – 5,110 men and 1,909 women – over a period of time. of five-year study at LUTH. “
In essence, the above not only raises the imperative of finding the courage to provide answers to this serious problem by government – via the development of a collaborative and systematic overhaul of our nation’s economy, but also laid out the consequences of our past failures, which have erupted into the present an uncontrolled experience with associated risks and undefined results.
As to the cause of the appalling situation, I may not be speaking in concrete terms, but I know that alongside the entrenched distrust of political leaders which characterizes our sphere is the national annoyance of those who once lived in comfort and loved to stay alive, for life has never been a burden.
But today, according to them, life has become not only a burden, but the cry of the “good old days” is now tearing the wavelength of nations with the relatively high cost of living and national security is now an issue. problem, our value system that was once the sound has gradually eroded and people no longer value hard work and honesty.
The country is now the opposite of what it used to be. To put problems more in their place, “Suicide, which is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death, is committed primarily as a means of escaping pain or suffering.
“Sometimes it involves intentional suicide and taking the lives of others for a religious belief – is committed by any category of people – student, professional, craftsman, teenager, mature individuals, men and women.”
Therefore, identifying the symptoms is more important than just trying to be safe.
Looking at the comments, the heinous plan to commit suicide manifests itself in the following; depression, frequent talking about death, drastic but negative changes in mood and behavior, eg lonely behavior, aggression and irritations, unwarranted donation of personal items and making personal funeral arrangements.
Concretely, suicide is triggered by problems such as stress, disappointment, low self-esteem, frustration, school challenges, health problems, stigma, feelings of hopelessness or lack of hope for the child. future, lack of psychosocial support system, drug addiction which could be alcohol or drugs, dying for a course which could be religious or family honor, bullying by friends and search syndrome. ‘Warning.
But among these causative factors, economic hardship occupies the position of driver. As to what should be done, the important responsibility of the Nigerian government should be the need to go beyond the call for a ban on the Sniper, a poisonous insecticide, and other poisonous substances or deadly objects that have been used for this deliberate self-harm. as a simple palliative, which relieves only temporal distress, but leaves the disease and its ravages unchanged. And tackle the challenges discussed above starting with the country’s economy / unemployment, which is currently in bad shape.
Federal and state governments must tackle the current economic adversity plaguing the country; promote peace by transforming our current culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.
Besides doubling its efforts by the government to reduce economic frustration in the country, either through the creation of more jobs or through a social program that will help all those who cannot afford to support themselves with a monthly token, as is done in some countries.
This current requirement is to make the Nigerian entity and its integral parts more ingenious, more acceptable, more creative, more functional and above all more secure.
Other steps that will provide a solution to this current challenge from what experts say include, but are not limited to; learn to forgive yourself and others, pay attention to the people around you, engage in family reorientation such as promoting our cultural values, share a problem with people who can help, seek medical help in the As part of the post-trauma program, people have to be content with what they have and should try as much as possible to live a stress-free life.
For their part, faith-based organizations and civil society groups as agents of change should develop the capacity of people to welcome new ideas, reject unhealthy behaviors that can endanger the lives of individuals and the lives of society. society as a whole. The reason why all must join hands in meeting this challenge is that suicide has a direct impact on the individual and ripple effects on both the family and the nation.
By way of illustration, besides the death of the individual involved, suicide brings trauma to family members, stigmatizes the family and visits both the family and the nation with economic losses and hardship for dependent victims and society, as well as a sense of guilt and embarrassment. by the family member, the loss of skilled labor by the nation are just some of the negative effects.
As the commentary on suicide continues to permeate our political geography, it is important for all to take another look at these chilling words from Dr Titilyo Tade.
It reads; “Nigeria does not have comprehensive and integrated national suicide prevention. 58% of the world’s suicides occurred before the age of 50 and 88% of teenage suicides took place in low- and middle-income countries.
“77% of suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2019 and men account for almost three times as many suicides as women. “
On global suicide prevention, she said: “Globally, only 38 countries are known to have a fully developed national suicide prevention plan.
As for the solution, “early identification, assessment management and monitoring of suicidal behavior and media interaction for responsible reporting of suicide will also help reduce suicide rates.”
Jerome-Mario Utomi, Program Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Advocacy for Social and Economic Justice (SEJA), wrote from Lagos. He can be contacted via [email protected] or 08032725374.