Police, Okei-Odumakin task govt on rising cases of suicide in Lagos
Police presence on bridges can’t stop trend, says Hundeyin
The police and right activist, Dr Josephine Okei-Odumakin, have called for concerted effort to address rising cases of suicides, and related attempts in Lagos.
They spoke to The Guardian following the recent increase on suicide attempts and number of persons plunging into the Lagos Lagoon. Investigation revealed at least about seven reported attempts this year. For instance, on August 8, a resident, Buka Abana, simply let himself down into the massive body of water in the Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge after allegedly taking a hard drug identified as Colorado.
Similarly, a Lagos State socialite, Farida Abdulkabir, popularly known as Farida Sobowale, on Thursday, August 16, attempted to plunge into a lagoon on the Third Mainland Bridge over alleged frustrations, failed marriage, among other factors.
Also, Adetutu Adedokun, a staff of the Department of State Services (DSS), who had a heated conversation with her fiancé, alighted from the car and jumped into the Lagos Lagoon.
Although reasons for such suicide attempts varies, police source said the most common reasons in the last nine years had been economic, broken family, drugs and heartbreaks.
Raising concerns over the issue, Okei-Odumakin, Founder, Women Arise for Change Initiative, lamented that so many people are oppressed, depressed, hungry, angry, and disillusioned.
According to her, it is an increasingly hostile world, while the situation is worsened by extensive substance and drug abuse. The right activist, however, linked the rise to the rapidly changing world, where people transport foreign cultures and conducts through technology.
On how to curb the trend, she said: “The solution is in the recreation of human societies. To start with, few people have everything and too many people have nothing, that is Jimmy Cliff. Those lyrics are not trivia. The very survival of humanity depends on redistribution of wealth as compulsory as that might be. However, recreating the world to free nations from the oppression of stronger nations is imperative.
“Governance, government, and operations of human societies must change. In the meantime, individual countries must seek solutions according to their peculiarities. Here, people need food. Hunger does a lot of damage to the mind.
“Again, the opulence and ostentatious exhibition of ill-gotten wealth make some feel they have no business on earth. Corruption kills in many ways.
“Religious bodies must reconceive sermons and conduct. The celebration of money in religion is obscene. It does not offer protection in the sanctuary.”
Also, spokesperson for Lagos State Police Command, Benjamin Hundeyin, called for the establishment of more counselling and advisory centres to address the situation.
According to him, the police do not have the resources to deploy men on the bridges to monitor residents and prevent them from plunging into the lagoon. He said: “We need more officers in the town considering our needs. In terms of priority, we have cultism, gangs fighting on the streets, people engaging in traffic robbery. So, we can’t put more officers on the bridge. Maybe the government can set up counselling and advisory centres. Even if we put police officers in every 500 metres, people who still want to jump will do so. They can park their car in-between the officers and jump inside the lagoon.
“Take for instance, Farida Sobowale, who attempted suicide over failed marriage; I have seen somebody who committed suicide because he made a 2.1 instead of first class. So, it was not only for economic reasons. There are a lot of reasons people commit suicide. The guy that jumped into Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge lagoon, Buka Abana, took Colorado and went on to jump into the water.“People should know that ending their own lives is not the best solution to their problems.”
PHOTO and Caption: Lagos CP
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