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How I survived suicide attempts 17 times, by UNIBEN student


University of Benin (UNIBEN) graduating student, Emmanuel Oluwasayomi Ahmadu, popularly known as Mr. Voiceover, has revealed how he survived a suicide attempt after he had written O’level examinations 17 times, attended 16 primary schools, took the University Matriculation Examination (UME) five times and enrolled into 14 secondary schools before gaining admission into the university. Ahmadu, who recently got an international award for student brand of the year West Africa, organized by West Africa Citizens Award, said he scaled through his ordeal of attempted suicide after enduring depression and hopelessness.

He said: ”I felt hopeless and desperate, with bleak pessimistic view of the future. It was such a heart-breaking experience for me to see my junior colleagues turned university graduates before my eyes and worse still, to see my self still wearing secondary school uniform and repeatedly rewriting O’level exams until the 17th time.

“All these were happening to me as a result of family crisis, and along the line, I became an orphan. I was haunted continually with low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. I am today thankful to God that I did not succumb to the pressures to end my life. I am being celebrated today.”Surviving a suicide attempt may be seemingly impossible to victims; however, he revealed his recovering process to The Guardian. “I survived suicide thoughts by distancing myself and shifting attention away from the negative thoughts that could lead to a more devastating situation.

“I tried as much as possible to surround myself with people who care about me and let them know what I was going through. And I often remind myself that recovery is possible, especially from the numerous setbacks. At the weekend, the story came to light about the reported suicide of one Michael Asiwaju, known as Mike Cash, the founder of Asiwaju Royal Furniture. Members of the Twitter community had a week ago accused him of rape.

Mike was said to have drank Sniper, a poisonous insecticide in his hotel room on January 13, 2019 in Lagos a day after he threatened to take his life.Two days into the New Year, Lagos-based disc jockey (DJ), Seun Omogaji, popularly known as DJ XGee, committed suicide few hours after posting a cryptic note on his Instagram account. It was gathered that Omogaji allegedly took his life by gulping the insecticide, Sniper after unresolved marital crises.

Last year, one Ifeanyi Ugokwe was arrested and locked up for several weeks. His crime: He tried to take his own life. After weeks of reportedly being hungry and jobless, the 25-year-old claimed he reached breaking point after a security guard pushed him to the ground while he was searching for work at a building site.

“I was tired of walking around that day. And I was determined to work there, I tried to force my way in, then he pushed me, and I fell down flat on the floor,” Ugokwe had told CNN.“I started begging him because I was tired. I really needed that job because I needed to eat.” Humiliated, Ugokwe went to a nearby lagoon and jumped in. After being rescued by fishermen, Ugokwe said he was handed over to police officers who arrested and put him behind bars.

Attempting suicide is a criminal offence in Nigeria, under Section 327 of the Criminal Code Act, and carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. The law was abolished in Britain under the Suicide Act of 1961, which happened after Nigeria gained its independence in 1960. Ugokwe said he is speaking out about his attempt to take his own life despite the stigma around the subject in Nigeria because he does not want people to suffer as he did.

Ajayi Yewande Elizabeth, a 400-level Psychology student of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), noted that for every suicide, there are 25 suicide attempts arising from depression, failure or low self-esteem. She advised that sharing of thoughts with someone close or talking to a therapist could best curb suicide thoughts in the society.

Dr. Jubril Abdulmalik, a consultant psychiatrist has advised that inaccurate media depictions of mental health must stop, especially in Nigeria. He said the media must go beyond seeking traction when it comes to reporting on mental health issues and cases.

Citing examples of recent reports on suicide cases in Nigeria, the psychiatrist said the media must approach reports of mental health from a human angle and take leads from positions that do not seek to glorify the ugly side of the tragic events. He said the impact of reporting mental heath issues inaccurately, can be highly devastating.

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