Senators across party lines have blamed the rising cases of suicide among Nigerians on economic frustrations, particularly the high poverty level in the country.
In separate submissions during debate on a motion sponsored yesterday by Theodore Orji (PDP: Abia Central) and 15 others on “Rising Incidence of Suicides Amongst Nigerians”, the lawmakers said the lack of political to comprehensively address Nigeria’s worsening economic problems as well as poor understanding of the country’s political economy was compounding situation.
Opeyemi Bamidele (APC: Ekiti Central) stated:
“Poverty is one issue that is confronting us in the face and which must be addressed holistically by government.
“As a parliament, we need to collaborate with the executive in getting the political will to address the problem of poverty and unemployment in the land.
“The political economy of the worrying situation must be dissected and required solutions taken through proactive budgetary appropriations on a yearly basis.”
To Francis Fadahunsi (PDP: Osun East), unemployment and despondency were fuelling the phenomenon.
In his contribution, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP: Edo South) observed that economically “things are getting worse and worse every day”
According to him, bleak future, hunger, unemployment and other economic challenges were driving people to take their lives.
But Rochas Okoroacha (APC: Imo West) said lack of happiness arising from all manner of frustrations triggers suicidal instincts in people.
He stated: “Most of our citizens are not happy. Our nation is characterised with unhappiness. Many people commit suicide because they lack the ability to express themselves or to share their feelings with people.
“When a government has failed to guarantee the happiness of the people, that government has failed to meet their expectations.”
He explained that the creation of a department or ministry of happiness when he was governor of Imo State was the most misunderstood initiative he brought to governance.
Other legislators, including Gabriel Suswam and George Thompson Sekibo, also agreed that the absence of political will to fight the pervasive poverty in the land was chief cause of suicides.
Earlier in his lead debate, Orji drew the attention of the Senate to the fact that “the rising cases of suicide, particularly among young Nigerians in recent times, have become very alarming.”
He said it was regrettable that “many people commit suicide out of ignorance and situations that could be addressed.”
Consequently, the Senate urged “the Federal Government through the Ministry of Information, National Orientation Agency and the Ministry of Health to urgently create awareness on how to control stress and depression and establish trauma centres across the federation.”