SUCIDE IS A CRIMINAL OFFENCE
People have been asking why the man that attempted to end his life was handed over the police. The truth is, that’s the law.
While these Nigerians were saved, some other survivors were sent to jail for attempting suicide. In 2018, 27-year old unemployed, Owolabi Ogunwande for allegedly attempting to die by suicide at the Lekki phase 1 toll gate. Likewise, in 2017, Ifeanyi Ugokwe, a 25year old young man was arrested and locked up for weeks. His crime: he tried to take his own life. This story was well elaborated on by @stephbusari
Research shows a strong link between suicide and mental illness. The @who findings in 2020 indicated that about 30% of Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the security situation in the country and other social issues such as unemployment, it is believed that these figures have gone up significantly.
As a Psychiatrist, I have had to attend to patients that were suicidal and one common thing they admit to as survivors is the show of regret. This means they deserve to receive counseling, therapy, and other necessary support because most people that tried to kill themselves never wanted to die; they just wanted the pain to go away. Criminalizing suicide is not the way to go, but instead, referring patients to where to seek help and rehabilitating those yields better outcome.
Penalizing attempted suicide is hardly a prevention method. Instead, the law should direct the appropriate authorities to assist the traumatized attempters. Self-destructive behavior is often a cry for help sincesuicide is mainly an indication of underlying mental and psychological disorder. The criminal laws are better suited for prosecuting criminal acts, not an exhibited call for help and act of distress.
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