Don’t criminalise suicide cases in Nigeria, Psychiatrist urges FG

A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Raphael Ogbolu, on Sunday urged the Federal Government not to criminalise cases of suicide as some other nations of the world had done.

Ogbolu, a Consultant in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, made the call on Sunday at a Day Seminar/Rally held at the Saint John Ambulance Brigade, Nigerian Railway Compound, Ebute-Meta, Lagos.

Responding to questions from participants on why it was still a criminal offence to commit suicide in Nigeria, the psychiatrist decried the rising cases of suicides across the country.

“The government is in a better position to explain why suicide has not been decriminalised as obtained in other parts of the world,” he said.

Ogbolu, however, commended the Federal Government for restricting the sales and banning the production of small packs of Sniper, a chemical substance mostly being used to commit suicide in the country.

According to him, statistics made available by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that the number of people who committed suicide increased from 6.5 per cent in 2012 to 9.9 per cent in 2015.

He said that an average of about one case of suicide takes place every month.

Ogbolu said increase in the number of people who committed suicide brought about the concern that informed the decision to drive the process against the increase.

According to him, figures of suicide cases is underestimated because most cases of suicide are not reported.

The medical practitioner said research had shown that cases of suicide were attributed to broken relationships, drug abuse and depression.

He said that most of the cases of suicide occurred within the academic circles due to self-esteem and sour relationships.

Ogbolu said that in some cases, female students who were sexually abused committed suicide due to self esteem.

The consultant said that symptoms of people who committed suicide included sudden change of attitude, loneliness and looking depressed.

According to him, “When such symptoms are noticed, it’s better to counsel such persons before it gets out of hand,” he advised.

In his remarks, Dr Ezike Amadi, the District Commissioner, Saint John Ambulance Brigade, Nigerian Railway Corporation, said that activities of the organisation were carried out in more than 40 countries.

Amadi said that since the establishment of the brigade in 1954, it has been providing relief for the sick and injured, as well as protection and preservation of public health through First Aid, transportation and care.

“Our mission is to provide first aid and medical support to communities in need, education, training and personnel development for young people,” he said.

Amadi said that Nigerians needed First Aid training in schools, workplaces, and communities as well as primary emergency responses. (NAN)

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