On Monday, 9th July, 2018, it was reported that an undergraduate of the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island situated in Bayelsa State named Aduba Daniel committed suicide by drinking a deadly insecticide locally known as ‘Sniper’. Worries, as the rate of Nigerian undergraduates suicide report increases.
Daniel was found squirming in excruciating pains and immediately rushed to a nearby-hospital in the Amassoma area, where it was realised that he had finished the whole bottle of insecticide. According to investigations, it was discovered that the deceased had carry-overs in four courses which must have led him to the decision of taking his own life.
The incident, as sad as it is, is the latest among several cases of suicide recorded in Nigerian universities between the year 2017 and 2018.
In October, 2017, a 16-year old 100-level student of Microbiology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Miss Mercy Afolaranmi, allegedly took her own life by drinking rat poison mixed with battery extracts. The reason given for Afolaranmi’s suicide by sources close to her was “emotional pressure.” They reported that she was emotionally drained and couldn’t think of any other solution than taking her own life but a female colleague of the deceased in the Faculty of Science hinted that she might have killed herself after scoring an ‘E’ in CHM101, a dreaded course for year one students in the science and technology related faculties.
Also, a few months ago, a young Nigerian woman, Omojola Ogundipe, who was studying Economics at Bristol University in the United Kingdom, took her own life in a Cardiff hotel room just days after a visit home for Mother’s Day. Her lifeless body was discovered in her hotel room at the later hours of the day after the members of staff observed that she had missed her check-out deadline on the 14th of March, 2018, leaving no suicide notes behind.
In another development, a 30-year-old student of the Nigerian Law School, Abuja, Auwal Haruna, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself on the ceiling fan in his hotel room in Takum, Taraba State.
According to the Taraba Police Public Relations Officer, Joseph Kwaji, Haruna’s lifeless body was found dangling from a ceiling fan at a guest house in the town. The death of a 300-level Physics/Astronomy under-graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Onyebuchi Okonkwo, by suicide was also reported in the media. Okonkwo was found dead at an uncompleted building located beside the hockey pitch at the university. His lifeless body was found dangling on a rope suspended from a height, thus confirming that he committed suicide.
Also, in February, 2018, a student of Abia State University, Wilson Chukwudi, allegedly committed suicide because he failed to graduate after two academic sessions in a row. As if that was not enough bad news, the following month, a final-year student of Computer Engineering at the University of Benin, identified as Adams, was found dangling from the roof of his room at Ekosodin Community in Ovia North-East Local Government Area of the state.
In all the cases, not one of the students left suicide notes behind.
A former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, in an interview with our correspondent, blamed the trend on a host of factors, which can be aggregated as frustration with life.
He said, “These factors can be internal or external to the university. Poor academic performance leading to being asked to withdraw from the university, peer bullying, especially by cult groups, and abject poverty, are some of the internal factors.
“Factors external to the university include inherited suicide tendencies, family bereavement, which may adversely affect the university education of the student and parental pressure to marry outside the student’s choice.”
Okebukola noted that the rising suicide rate in Nigerian universities could be checked through counseling and the introduction of a General Studies course known as (GEDS course), which will include topics that should discuss the disadvantages of suicide, as well as preaching against suicide in places of worship on campus.
“There should be an observatory in every university to detect students with suicide tendencies and the authorities should trigger emergency response” he said.