Experts seek review of law criminilising suicide

The Nigeria Suicide Advocacy Group has called for the decriminalisation of suicide to advance suicide prevention and control in Nigeria.

This was made known by the Consultant Psychiatrist, Prof. Taiwo Sheikh, at the group’s maiden virtual meeting in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Sheikh, a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said the major barrier to suicide prevention and control was the law that criminalised attempted suicide.

He lamented that Nigeria was among countries in the world still criminalising suicide, saying the law that criminalised suicide in Nigeria came as a result of the British colonisation, stressing the need to review and change of the law.

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.

“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.

A lawyer, Prof. Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, also said the way to go was to ensure the enforcement of the National Health Law.

A report by The PUNCH in Januray detailed how economic factors, the absence of sympathetic anti-suicide laws and poor mental health awareness were increasing the rate of suicides and suicidal thoughts in Nigeria.

On January 8, an employee of a new-generation bank identified as Amarachi Ugochukwu, reportedly took her own life.

The 32-year-old was said to have made her way into a restroom in the bank in the afternoon and committed suicide by consuming an insecticide.

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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