UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB x-rays the reports of two suicide mission committed in Kwara state, within a week
What could make a man defy his pastor’s warning and commit suicide despite assurances that his problems would be solved someday?
The above poser is on the lips of many residents of Joro community, Asa Dam area in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara state, when the news of their neighbours who hung themselves filtered in.
When all hopes were lost and life no longer seemed to have meaning to a frustrated person, no amount of preaching would make him listen to words of scriptures, unless his pressing need is solved.
This is what exactly played out in the case of a miner who allegedly committed suicide in Ilorin, Kwara state capital despite warnings by his pastor not to take his own life.
The deceased, a middle- aged man, simply identified as Prince, reportedly hung himself in Ilorin.
His death has also brought to the fore, the rate at which people lives in frustration in the state due to biting economic hardship.
The suicide missions that followed the late miner’s incident in quick succession within one week in the state, have further revealed that all is not well with many people.
Just within a week, three suicide missions were recorded in different parts of the state, adding to the list of number of persons who have reportedly committed suicide in the state within seven days.
The first was the one that involved Prince, (the miner) who lived in Jooro, Asa Dam area in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara state. His lifeless body was reportedly found in his apartment by his neighbours.
When the going was smooth
Initially life was not so difficult for the deceased as he was said to have lived comfortably as a miner for many years in Ibadan, Oyo state before he relocated to Ilorin, about three weeks ago after things turned sour for him.
The development, it was gathered led to separation from his wife and children, a few years ago.
According to a resident of Jooro and neighbour of the deceased, who does not want her name in print, “Nobody knew about the plan of Prince until his church member came around, his door was locked.
“The church member knocked without any response, so the people forced the door open only to find Prince’s lifeless body dangling from the ceiling.”
A day to his death, Prince was said to have informed the Pastor of a church he joined at Adewole in Ilorin, about two weeks ago, of his intention to commit suicide due to hardship.
Failed rescue mission
According to another source who worships at the same church with the late Prince, the pastor had on two or three occasions given prince money to ameliorate his suffering. Not that alone, the pastor had even referred him to members of the parish for employment.
“He joined our parish about two weeks ago after narrating how sold his various property to survive after his business crumbled.
“Our pastor gave him letters to some church members to assist him with a job but they all promised to get back to him as soon as they have vacancy in their establishments.
“On few occasions after service at the church, our pastor will give him money to ameliorate his suffering but we were all surprised when he called on Monday to pronounce his intention to commit suicide due to adversity.”
Defying Pastor’s warning
The source added that the pastor told him not to carry out his threat and subsequently called a church member to check on Prince at his Jooro residence to forestall any mishap.
Speaking on the last moments of the deceased, the source said: “Prince left home on a motorcycle with a sack and returned to his room without talking to anyone on the same bike.
“Last Sunday, his son paid him a visit but Prince refused to open the door until the neighbours pleaded with him to allow the young man in”.
Meanwhile, after the discovery of the lifeless body of Prince, the estate agent in-charge of the house, alongside residents of the area were said to have reported the incident at the Adewole Police Station.
On arrival, the policemen reportedly found a suicide note with the phone numbers of families of the deceased.
The remains of Prince had since been deposited at the morgue of General Hospital, I lorin.
When contacted the spokesman of the State Police Command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.
Another suicide mission
While the dust raised by the miner’s death was yet to settle down, the report of the death of another person identified as Mr Biodun Bashir, rented the air.
This time around, the deceased was said to be a driver with Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and that he allegedly committed suicide over the failure of the state government to pay his salaries.
His body was alleged to have been found dead on 28th October 2017, hanging on a tree.
The late Bashir aka Legal, it was gathered was a driver at Erin Secondary School (JSS) Erin Ile at Oyun Local. His remains was said to have been buried in Ipee.
The deceased who was said to have worked at the LGEA office in Ilemona, before joining SUBEB, was from Ipee town, Oyun Local Government. He was survived by a wife and children.
SUBEB workers in the state, it was gathered were being owned more than 6 months salaries.
It was gathered that the deceased went missing two days before his lifeless body was discovered by a tree in the farm.
Although the Kwara state government was quick to declare that it was unaware of the death of any of its worker or any other person who committed suicide , media reports of the deaths of two persons who reportedly committed suicide have continued to generate debate amongst workers in the state.
The alleged suicide committed by the deceased has heightened anxiety among workers especially those in the parastatalls following reports of the suicide mission committed by the late worker.
Plights of parastatals and LG workers
Time without number, the Kwara state government had said is not owing civil servants salaries with an explanation that it is the responsibility of local to pay workers in their respective councils .
But those in the 30 parastatals and local government always have different tales to tell.
Blueprint recalls that a production worker with the Kwara state printing and Publishing Corporation, Publisher of The Herald Newspaper, Kehinde Ayilara, sometime ago collapsed while on duty due to unpaid salary areas owned workers as at that time.
His wife was said to have put to bed at that time and was unable to raise money to settle her hospital bill.
Currently, workers in the Herald and other state- owned media establishments namely, The Herald , Radio Kwara and Kwara TV are being owned about salary areas even as they groaned under harsh working conditions.
Although the state government said is carrying out a repositioning of the three media establishments to be among the top 10 in the country , some workers who spoke with our reporters on the condition of anonymity said the repositioning is rather slow and expressed fear that the stations might collapsed soon if something is not urgently done along with improved staff welfare.
We are unaware of worker’s alleged suicide’
And in a swift reaction, the Kwara State Government says it is unaware of any worker’s alleged death or suicide on account of unpaid salaries or any other reason.
The state government made the clarification while reacting to an online media report, which attributed the alleged death of a Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) worker to the failure of the state government to pay his salaries.
While maintaining that state civil servants have been fully paid up to date, the government pointed out that only local government workers are owed varying degrees of arrears by their councils and not by the state government.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to governor on Media and Communications ,Dr Muiden Akorede , the government described the report as fake as it has not been made aware of any worker’s alleged death by family, police or labour unions.
The government also clarified that it was not responsible for UBEC workers and that staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) are paid through federal allocations to local government councils.
It further noted that while any death is sad and tragic, it is illogical and mischievous to make such claims without proof or to believe such without any clear evidence other than the words of an opposition social media group that has no link to the workers but is closely allied to opposition elements in the state.
Mission continued unabated
Amidst denial by the state government and claim by the police that they were yet to be briefed about the series of suicide mission being committed in different parts of the state, the number of suicide acts committed rose to three again on Saturday.
The number of people committing suicide in different parts of Kwara state within the last one week, at the weekend rose to three with the latest victim being a farmer, Blueprint reports.
The act was committed by the farmer who used his own Dane gun to terminate his life in Idera community in Ifelodun local government area of Kwara state. The farmer was said to double as a hunter.
The deceased’s name could not be immediately ascertained but his age was put at 45year.
He was said to have put the mouth-edge of the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger to blow himself off.
The late farmer’s death believed to hail from Oreke community in the same local government but resided in Idera, was said to have thrown the people of the two communities in shock as they could not yet fathom reasons he resorted to taking his own life.
The incident was said to have been reported to the police in the area by one of the children of the deceased.
We are not yet briefed –Police
Just like in the previous cases, the Kwara state police command has not open up on the various suicide acts allegedly committed in different parts of the state.
Spokesman of Kwara state police command, Ajayi Okasanmi, when contacted on the three cases said he was yet to be briefed about the development.