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Emerging trend of suicide celebrities in Nigeria

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Over the couple of weeks, and even in recent times, suicide has reached an alarming rate in Nigeria, with the country recording two clear cases in the month of May alone.

TheNewsGuru (TNG) recently reported the case of Michael Arowosaiye, a gospel minister with Shepherd’s House Assembly in Abuja, with investigations still ongoing.

A CCTV footage detailing how Michael committed suicide has been lodged with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

In April, a 22-year-old man, Chika Alex-Chukwuezie committed suicide in Ubaekwem community in Ihiala Local government area of Anambra state.

Same April, a Computer Science student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile –Ife, Osun State, South West, Nigeria, Kolapo Olowoporoku committed suicide.

A more recent widely reported case prior to the case of Michael in Abuja, was the case of a young final year student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Chukwuemeka Akachi.

Akachi who was a student of English and Literary Studies and reportedly a first-class student took his own life after dropping a suicide note on Facebook.

After him, another UNN student known as Nnemelu Shalon dropped what seems to be a suicide note on Facebook after changing her profile picture to the same one used by Akachi of the same school.

With the spate of suicides, dropping of suicide notes on social media increased recently with many describing the occurrence as the rise of suicide celebrities seeking attention on social media.

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death, with mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse – including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines – as risk factors.

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Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or bullying.

However, the case of Nnemelu had been described as a case of an attention seeking suicide celebrity, however, she reportedly went missing after dropping the suicide note, but authorities are yet release official statement on the matter.

“You just wanna be popular Right?” one Facebook user commented on Nnemelu’s suicide note, with another saying, “She just posted it for popularity. All these while, none of them knew about suicide. The moment Akachi did it that is when they knew about suicide. Hopeless set of people; attention seekers”.

“Come and see how this shortcut to popularity is booming now,” one said, “I take this as a joke! She is just playing around,” another asserted.

“We are still mourning Chukwuemeka Akachi, and here you talking about death again with the same dp,” another said, with another user responding, “I have found the strategy to raise money”.

However, another Facebook user, a student of UNN, where the suicide scare has reached an alarming dimension called on the school management to investigate the cases in the school.

“They use the same picture below as profile picture and mostly in faculty of arts. There should be an arrest of some of those in that department for easy enquiry.

“Otherwise, if the school management keeps mum, then they are first suspects,” the Facebook user told TNG under anonymity.

Efforts to reach the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba to comment on the matter proved abortive.

Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide – such as firearms, drugs, and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; proper media reporting of suicide; and improving economic conditions.

Even though crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

Meanwhile, on what Facebook is doing to address the occurrence on the platform, the social media giant said the glaring suicide notes reported by TNG do not go against its community standards.

“We’ve looked over the post, and although it doesn’t go against any of our specific Community Standards, you did the right thing by letting us know about it.

“We understand that it may still be offensive or distasteful to you, so we want to help you see less of things such as this in the future.

“From the list above, you can block Nnemelu Shalon directly, or you may be able to unfriend or unfollow them. We also recommend visiting the Help Centre to learn more about how to control what you see in your News Feed.

“If you find that a person, group or Page consistently posts things that you don’t want to see, you may want to limit how often you see their posts or remove them from your Facebook experience.

“We know that these options may not apply to every situation, so please let us know if you see anything else that you think we should take a look at,” Facebook stated in one of its replies to TNG.

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