Year 2019 hasn’t really been pleasant for Nigerian literary scene. I mean isn’t this the same year we lost the renowned scholar and intellect, Pius Adesanmi to the cold hands of death? It’s just saddening that this year alone, we have recorded over 40 suicide cases, most of them coming from the court of depression.
During the course of a recap, we discovered that from these over 40 cases, 5 are most tragedic and unfortunate. I mean this 5 cases involved a very promising young writer, Chukwuemeka Akachi alongside 4 other students.
Akachi was a promising and budding poet. At the department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsuka where he was an undergraduate, many saw him taking after notable Nigerian poets such as the legendary Christopher Okigbo. But barely a year to his graduation tragedy struck.
On May 13, 2019, the body of Chukwuemeka Akachi was discovered by a passerby after he had successfully executed his suicide mission in the solitude of an uncompleted building located at the Sullivan Road, Nsuka. He was said to have slipped into coma after taking two bottles of the deadly insects’ killer called sniper.
They said it was depression. No, IT WAS DEPRESSION. The note he left on Facebook confirmed that.
Another final year student of the department of Religion and Culture, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Samuel Elias, 25, also committed suicide in June, 2019 by drinking the deadly chemical, Sniper. The mother of the deceased, Mrs. Kate Elias, a staff of the university, said the unfortunate incident happened on Monday June 17, around 5.30pm in her house at Justina Eze Street Nsukka.
Narrating the incidence, she said;
“I came back from work on that fateful day and discovered that the mood of my first child was bad and he was staggering when he came to collect a bottle of coke from the fridge. I followed him immediately to his room and started talking to him but he could not respond and when I looked closely, I discovered that his teeth had tightened up. “As I looked around, I saw an empty Sniper bottle. At this point I raised alarm and my other children rushed to the room and we tried to give him palm oil but his tightened teeth did not allow the oil to enter his mouth…”
Mrs. Kate said Samuel was immediately rushed to Faith Foundation Hospital, Nsukka and was later referred to Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, where he eventually died.
Another case of sort is that of Uzakah Timi Ebiweni, a 300 level medical student of the Niger Delta University (NDU) who ended his own life. Ebiweni took a fatal plunge into a river close to the university campus, Amassoma, located in the Southern Ijaw area council of the state after failing his examination. He was among about 50 students out of 169 who sat for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) exam but failed. It was gathered that as a general practice every student passes the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) exams before progressing to the next level of academic pursuit. However, Ebiweni and 21 others were said to have failed beyond the level that they could be placed on academic probation for another academic year hence they had to be withdrawn.
Earlier in April 27, 2019 the whole of Nigeria trembled again at the news of a 100-level student of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Hikmat Gbadamosi, who allegedly committed suicide. The Chemical Engineering Department student ended her life after she consumed two bottles of the deadly chemical, Sniper. Hikmat who was the assistant course representative of students at her level had missed a test previously and some of her course mates who were apprehensive about her whereabouts went to look for her at her lodge in the Aluu area of Rivers State, where she was found dead.
Lastly is the case of Christabel Omoremime Buoro, a 21 year old 300-level student of the department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Benin (UNIBEN), who reportedly killed herself over being jilted by boyfriend. On June 18, 2019 her lifeless body was discovered in her hostel flat at Plot 4 Uwaifo lane, Newton Street, Ekosodin area, behind the university fence over her alleged breakup with boyfriend.
The year is coming to a close, but we should just never stop to revisit depression as the major cause of death among youths. Of course depression doesn’t just set in. Most times it’s as a result of failure, inability to hit some certain targets. But then, “Success has many names, and failure is one”.