Specialists Seeks Reconsideration Of Law Criminalizing Suicide

In a bid to enhance suicide prevention strategies and mental health support, the Nigerian Suicide Advocacy Alliance has pushed for the removal of legal penalties associated with suicide.

Prof. Taiwo Sheikh, a Consultant Psychiatrist, disclosed this information during the Nigeria Suicide Advocacy Group’s first-ever virtual assembly in Lagos, highlighting the importance of virtual platforms in disseminating crucial mental health insights.

Sheikh, also a faculty member at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, stressed in a report by the News Agency of Nigeria that the key impediment to suicide prevention efforts stems from legislation that criminalizes suicide attempts.

He voiced his dismay over Nigeria’s inclusion among countries that uphold suicide as a punishable offense, attributing the existence of such laws to the colonial era and emphasizing the urgency of reevaluating and revising them.

He said, “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people and it’s most committed by low and and middle income countries, which Nigeria is one of them.”

Also speaking, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mohammed Mohammed, said suicide was a criminal offence in both the Customary Law and Islamic Law obtainable in Nigeria.

Read also: Boeing Whistleblower Barnett’s Death Not Suicide –Relative

“In Nigeria, it is a criminal offence for anybody to attempt suicide or robbery. However, if a person successfully commits suicide, there won’t be anybody to be punished. But, if a person attempts suicide, he/she will be punished.

“And even with the punishments attached to robbery and attempted suicide in Nigeria, such offences are still on the increase, hence, the need for more advocacy and education so that the public will be well informed because what people attempting suicide need is help,” Mohammed said.

Additionally, legal expert Prof. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe emphasized that the most viable approach is to prioritize the implementation of the National Health Law.

In previous accounts from January, it was elucidated how economic circumstances, the lack of compassionate legislation regarding suicide, and insufficient mental health education were contributing to the rise in suicide rates and suicidal ideation in Nigeria.

Reports from January 8th indicated that Amarachi Ugochukwu, an employee at a progressive bank, reportedly committed suicide.

Allegedly, the 32-year-old made her way to a restroom within the bank premises during the afternoon and ended her life by consuming an insecticide.

Africa Today News, New York

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *