It is a very puzzling tragedy because suicide is not common among youths in Nigeria.
When a young undergraduate suddenly commits suicide, neighbours and friends are bound to draw various conclusions.
Till date, people are wondering why an undergraduate of the University of Lagos identified simply as Seun committed suicide on January 19. His action has left his family and friends in shock.
Claims by neighbours that he was a brilliant student in school could not be ascertained as efforts to investigate which department he was, proved abortive.
He lived with his aunt at 9, Alhaja Adijat Lawal, Beesam, Mafoluku, Lagos, where the incident was said to have occurred.
When our correspondent paid the family a visit, Seun’s aunt was still in shock.
“Please, I cannot say anything because this is a big tragedy for us,” said the woman, who did not give her name, said.
But some neighbours who spoke to our correspondent gave an insight into the kind of person Seun was and the circumstances surrounding his alleged suicide.
Most of those who spoke declined to give their names because they fear the deceased’s family might not look kindly upon them for speaking on their tragedy.
A young woman said of Seun, “I knew he was a student. I just did not know he attended UNILAG. He was an easy going and quiet man. We probably would have been close if he was not the quiet type.
“The day of the incident, I just got home from an errand and I was told Seun had been rushed to a hospital. When I asked what happened, I was told he went out to buy a substance and locked himself inside his room.
“I still don’t know what happened to make him take that action. I think those in the house when he went to buy the substance must have suspected he was going to do something drastic because they later forced the door open, but he had already ingested the substance he went to buy. They quickly took him to the hospital.”
It was learnt that Seun died later that evening in the hospital.
The young woman who spoke with our correspondent said she did not know the hospital Seun was taken to for treatment.
Our correspondent went to St. Nicholas Clinic, which was the nearest to the street to find out if any young man was brought there on January 19 for suspected poison ingestion. A nurse, who identified herself as Ibidun, said their records showed no such thing.
A beer joint operator on a street adjacent to Seun’s street said he knew the deceased too. But he could only remember him as “a very quiet young man of about 27 years old.”
The young woman who had earlier spoken with our correspondent put Seun’s age at around 28.
Suicides are still seen as taboo in many parts of Nigeria, a reason family and friends of victims would rather not speak about it in public.
“Please, whatever you want to know, I think it is better you speak with the family,” a tailor around the building where Seun lived told our correspondent.
Seun’s suicide remains shrouded in mystery more because the police have said no report was made about it.
Public Relations Officer of the Airport Police Command, Lagos, Mr. Dennis Ifijen, said, “We have no record of the case. I have not heard about it.”
Seun is the second undergraduate of UNILAG to commit suicide in the last one month, Saturday PUNCH learnt.
On New Year’s Eve, Damilola Durojaiye, a computer science student of the university, also allegedly committed suicide at his parents’ Akute-Ajuwon, Ogun State home.
The 19-year-old was said to be a brilliant student with a cumulative grade point average of about 3.9.
He reportedly stayed at home when his parents went for the cross-over service, only for them to come back and see his body dangling from where he hanged himself.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, said at the time that a suicide note was found where Durojaiye hung himself.
It probably may never be known what drove Seun to consider suicide as the way out like Durojaiye, but the incident is a pointer to the fact that problems faced by youths in the country are increasingly becoming psychological.