FG, Sniper Is Not The Problem – Joseph Abalokwu Writes Open Letter
Every moment being a Nigerian is a test for sanity, you live knowing you have to be mad before you can make enough for a meal and every other day, the country and her leaders give you something new to be sad about.
It saddens me many a time to call myself a Nigerian, not because we lack the basic amenities, not because our leaders take us for idiots but because we are afraid of change.
We complain our leaders are the reason we are in this plight without knowing we are our leaders; our leaders are just the product of our decisions. If 90 from 100 people are backwards / stagnant thinkers, it isn’t rocket science what would become of the society.
We are one of the most populous nations in the world yet have no sense of progress. We pleasure ourselves with mediocrity by calling the country “the giant of Africa” forgetting most giants recorded in history were actually easily defeated. We have become slaves to our minds, basic things excite us. This brings me to the most relevant conversation in Nigeria – Mental health and spike in suicide rate.
Mental health disorders are not uncommon in the country (Nigerians should stop thinking until you run mad before you need a psychiatrist) and it is believed an estimated 30% of our population suffer from it; 3 in every 10 persons. Unfortunately, the attention given to mental health disorders in Nigeria is at best, fleeting; the level of awareness of the Nigerian public is poor and its misconception has continued to flourish.
Mental disorders are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviours and relationship with others and these are sometimes triggered by past situations.
Depression being the most obvious symptom is ferociously eating its way into our lives and the unhealthy environment we live has been an exciting catalyst. Every moment being a Nigerian is a test for sanity, you live knowing you have to be mad before you can make enough for a meal and every other day, the country and her leaders give you something new to be sad about.
With the high rate of suicide in Nigeria attributed to depression the Federal Government are contemplating the ban of insecticide Sniper – which has unusually been the culprit to many suicide cases- to curb the trend; but is sniper the problem?
With the deteriorating state of mental health of many Nigerians, isn’t that enough reason for the government to make conscious decisions to understanding why people (especially the youths) are taking their own lives. The first step to finding a solution is to understanding the problem. Banning sniper is just looking for a scape goat for the gross incompetent of this failed state, Nigerians are a resilientpeople who would do everything possible to make ends meet so let me proffer a solution from a youth point of view.
First, religion is not the answer to everything, even the westerners that brought religion to Africa are making scientific efforts to remedy every problem they have so when you see a person being outweighed by circumstances, quit sending them to religious centre, we need more confidential medical centers a subsidized rates where people can talk about their mental challenges especially around campuses and commercial avenues. Even the bible says “heaven helps those who help themselves”.
Secondly, if we have all noticed, among the youths, the people who are more prone to suicide are the students from federal universities, you know why? because the whole system is messed up, the system has been the same way since inception. You fail a course, you write it the next year, the lecturers are unapproachable, academic problems are unsolvable, you know how much toil that takes on a student’s mental health? why do I have to wait for a long year to rewrite 1 or 2 courses I failed? can’t I do that over the holidays? isn’t there some time I can fit it during the break? Why do our lecturers actlike demi gods? someone needs to tell them before they became lecturers, they were humans so empathy is advised.
The government should make these environments habitable for the youths, more basic amenities, more aesthetics, more talk shows on how to live above problems. These proactive measures have been employed in the western world not prayers so let’s get our priorities right.
My friend suffering from O.C.D pays 20k per week (2 sessions) to an afro man psychiatrist and 5k every fort-night for some medications with no visible progress, now imagine what would become of him if he didn’t identify his mental disorder or didn’t have the financial capability to manage it ormaybe he left it to religion, I bet you, it will deteriorate to suicide.
Nigeria as a nation needs to be progressive, to leave archaic ways and most importantly leave religion and empower herself with knowledge.