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Experts attribute rising suicide to depression



Against the background of rising suicide being reported in the country recently, medical experts have affirmed that suicide is on the increase, putting the blame largely on depression which is aggravated by economic recession and other human adversity.

According to a Consultant Psychiatrist/Psychologist and Medical Director of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, FNPH, Yaba, Dr. Richard Adebayo, who made this known in Lagos, said 80 per cent of people who committed suicide had depression. Depression is a mental health disorder. Specifically, it is a mood disorder characterised by persistently low mood in which there is a feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

It will be recalled that of Dr. Alwell Oji, a medical doctor who worked with Mt. Sinai Hospital in Papa Ajao Mushin Lagos committed suicide by jumping into the Lagos lagoon penultimate Sunday and Taiwo Titilayo Momoh also attempted jumping into Lagos lagoon but was later rescued by policemen attached to the Lagos State Police Command.

While raising the alarm that suicide is on the increase in the country, Adebayo similarly admitted that depression is becoming more rampant.

He said, “A lot of people are depressed; millions of Nigerians are depressed,” adding, “depression is on the increase; and suicide is on the increase.”

The 2016 Annual Report of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, shows that the facility recorded 111 per cent increase in patient attendants, rising from 25,267 attendance in 2015 to 53,287 in 2016. Similarly, the psychiatric hospital recorded 59 per cent increase in the number of new patients that sought care there in 2016, rising from 2,531 in 2015 to 4,031 in 2016.

Adebayo lamented that suicide is under-reported because of the stigma associated with it. He said: “A lot of people have committed suicide but their families want to suppress it due to the stigma.”

While explaining why the country is recording some suicide cases, the medical director of the FNPH, said Economic problems occasioned by the current recession and other human adversity including loss of relations, tragic incidents and calamities could reinforce people who have underlying depression and these could trigger suicide ideations and even selfharm.

“Losing a job or being bereaved could aggravate underlying depression and an affected individual may just feel that there is no way out again and may resort to taking his life,” said Adebayo.

According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, approximately one million people die by suicide each year and for everyone who dies by suicide about 20 more have attempted suicide. A Consultant Psychologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Dr. Raphael Ogbolu, said based on research, “Over a five-year study period 7.2 of cases referred to psychiatry consultation-liaison services in LUTH were cases related to suicide.

“It has been reported that during their lifetime, about 3.0 per cent of Nigerians have had thoughts about ending their lives, 1.0 per cent will plan on how to kill themselves and just under 1.0 per cent will carry out an attempt to kill themselves,” according to the study.

Similarly, a Consultant Psychiatrist in LUTH, Dr. Yewande Oshodi, on Thursday, affirmed that suicide is common in Nigeria; it is not a new thing.

“We in the Department of Psychiatry can confirm that almost all referrals to our department were based on suicide attempts. “Every month, we have at least, four cases of attempted suicide and it has been like that for years. So, these are not new things.”

She described the case of the Dr. Alwell Oji as a sensational event that brought suicide to the attention of the public.

“We sit with a big problem and sometimes people do not know where to go to. Besides, the stigma of phychiatric problems make it difficult for people to come out and speak about it.

“It’s not just adults that attempt suicide, adolescents too do,” she said adding, “last week, I still saw a young girl who had taken an overdose of tramadol right under her mother’s nose.”

To tackle rising suicide with a view to preventing deaths arising from it, the medical director of the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Yaba urged the three tiers of government to decentralise mental health care and take services to all primary health centres, PHCs.

“A lot of people do not want to access mental health care from psychiatric hospitals because of the stigma associated with it.

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Obasanjo, Jonathan, Dickson harp on true reconciliation, unity



Former Presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, at the yesterday reaffirmed their call on Nigerians to embrace peace and unity for the good of the country. The leaders spoke during a thanksgiving service for the successful groundbreaking ceremony of Azikel Refinery at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Francis Ottah Agbo, quoted Obasanjo as saying that leaders, particularly the political class, must work for unity, peace and genuine reconciliation, irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliation. Obasanjo, who heralded his speech with one of his favourite hymns; ‘Amazing Grace,’ noted that God had blessed Nigeria with all the prerequisites of greatness. He urged Nigerians to learn from history rather than make the same mistakes and expect to have a different result.

He said: “In a country like Nigeria, unless we preach, teach and practice reconciliation, we will not have peace. And unless, we have peace, we will not have development. And unless, we have development, we will not have growth. “And without growth, we will not come out of poverty. Even if some of us are exceptionally lucky and are able to get out, majority of us will be writhing in poverty and that’s not what God ordained for this country.

“This nation is a land flowing with milk and honey and a land of plenty and prosperity.” In his remarks, former President Jonathan, who corroborated the views of Obasanjo, said God had not made a mistake by bringing people of diverse culture and religion together as a nation. Jonathan, therefore, expressed optimism of a better Nigeria in the near future, stressing that the country was not as bad as it was being portrayed in some sections of the media. Also, Governor Dickson, who appreciated Obasanjo for his time in the state and his fatherly counsel, assured the people that the state would continue to hold him in high esteem for his support.

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Onaiyekan to Buhari: You’re not delivering on your promises



The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, yesterday, yesterday told President Muhammadu Buhari that the change he promised Nigerians was becoming a mirage. Onaiyekan, who delivered a homily at the opening Mass of the first 2018 plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), also told the president that Nigerians deserved more than they were getting from him. He therefore called on Nigerians to use the 2019 election to effect a radical change for the betterment of the country.

He argued that in the last three years, Nigerians have been hearing much about change, but have seen rather little of it. He said: “Yes, our nation is in a state of uncertainty and confusion. A few things are going well in the society and the economy for which we thank God and congratulate our leaders.

They tell us that they are doing their best. But a lot still needs to be done and too many problems have been left to fester. Our nation surely deserves far better than it is now getting in terms of good governance, social justice and peace and minimum of well being for our people.”

The former President of CAN said so far, government has spent so much time and energy demonizing its predecessor that it seemed to have forgotten its promise of a better life for Nigerians. He added:“It has unfortunately allowed the initial massive goodwill it enjoyed to be depleted, almost to nonexistence.

It is no wonder that many Nigerians are looking for a new political organization that can truly bring about genuine change for the better. Having tried our two major political parties and found none of them up to our expectation, the nation is on the verge of despair….” “Another election is fast approaching.

We must seize this God-given opportunity to radically change things around. We should no longer allow politics to remain business as usual in the hands of the same gang of speculators and opportunists. We must change the rule of the game, not the faces of the players.” However, Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the CBCN was the only Christian platform that gave the president a listening ear prior to the 2015 presidential election. Mustapha added that the president believed that the CBCN was a strategic partner in building the nation, even as he noted that the CBCN have a lot to offer the nation.

“And for that reason, he remains eternally grateful. And I remember at that engagement, they asked very pertinent questions – direct, bullets to the face. And he provided answers. And because of that reason, he believes that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria is a strategic partner in the enterprise of growing the Nigeria nation and he believes that they have a lot to offer,” Mustapha said. Also speaking, a former Governor of Abia State, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, maintained that the current administration has done well, particularly in the area of infrastructural development.

Kalu particularly mentioned the Second Niger Bridge; Enugu-Onitsha Expressway; Enugu-Port Harcourt- Okigwe; Aba-Umuahia Expressway, while also saying that the president is doing everything within his power to salvage the economy. Speaking with journalists, Kalu prayed for the good of the country and wished Nigerians well, that they can enjoy the dividends of democracy. “This is not media hype. I am not a spokesman for the president. Everybody knows that I speak the truth. APC have done very well

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IBB to PDP: Provide a better choice for Nigerians



Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has charged the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be ready to provide a better choice to Nigerians in 2019. This is as the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said that the party is set for its eventual return to power in 2019. Babangida and Secondus, who spoke over the weekend, said Nigerians were happy with the rebranding and repositioning going on in PDP.

The former military president, who spoke when members of PDP National Working Committee (NWC) visited him in Minna, the Niger State capital, expressed satisfaction with the rebranding so far achieved by the PDP ahead of the 2019 general elections. “I am happy at your assurances that there will be no imposition in all your primary elections.

It is all about choice and you have promised to provide the best choice,” PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, quoted Babangida in a statement. Babangida told the PDP leadership that not a few Nigerians believed that the elective national convention of the party would hold. “Your ‘reposition, rebrand and regain’ agenda is working and I mean particularly the rebranding.

Some people believed that having been in government since 1999, the PDP will find opposition difficult, but you are carrying on well and providing a better alternative. “You have also not abandoned the people in times of crisis. I monitored your activities in Benue, Taraba and you just said your party has sent members to Zamfara to commiserate with the people. Surely you have made the people the centre of your return and they will not forget you because you were with them in time of sorrow,” he said.

At a meeting with Forum of Speakers of PDPcontrolled state Houses of Assembly, Secondus assured them that what would come out of the reengineering going in the party would make it a formidable opposition ready and determined to regain power in 2019. In a statement by his media aide, Ike Abonyi, the PDP National Chairman noted that many Nigerians were anxiously waiting for PDP’s return to power.

“Our visits to states reveal that only PDP governors are delivering in their campaign promises and their people are happy and supportive. “In Abia, Delta and Bayelsa states where we visited recently, PDP governors are phenomenal in their performance. No wonder the people are trooping back to the party from the wobbling ruling APC,” Secondus said.

He told the speakers that their position is very critical to the mobilization programmes of the party because of their closeness to the grassroots, and urged them to “remain connected to your people because we are taking the party back to the real owners, the people at the grassroots where you are closer.”

The National Chairman told the speakers that the party is planning a deliberate policy that would take the party to the youth through a new programme called “Generation Next” that would soon be launched and called on the speakers to key into it as most of them belong to that generation. He lamented the killings and economic hardships, which Nigerians contend with on daily basis, stressing that “our country has never witnessed the type of division our people are currently facing.

“Today, our nation is drifting and as leaders (we) cannot afford to keep quiet and watch on the sides. Leaders must come together and take a firm position on how to save our nation from the precipice. “PDP remains the only alternative platform based on our experience more so because we have learnt our lessons. We have resolved to play by the rules and operate within the confines of our party’s and the Nigerian constitution.

“We are rebranding and repositioning to make our party open to all and regain the land for the people. We are determined to give opportunities to the youth and our women. We also want to mentor a new generation of young Nigerians that will take our nation to the next millennium,” Secondus said.

Earlier, the Chairman of PDP State Speakers’ Forum, Sheriff Oborevworio, told Secondus that they came to congratulate and identify with the new party executive. Oborevworio, who is the Speaker of Delta State House Assembly, said speakers were ready at all time to assist the party in its efforts to regain power in 2019.

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