Lagoon of death: Fears, concerns as many Nigerians take to suicide
There is concern among Nigerians that the Lagos Lagoon has turned an attractive suicide spot for many who claimed they are tired of living and decided to end it all.
Nigerians have lost count of individuals who have left their houses to end their lives in the Lagos Lagoon. While some unlucky ones jumped into the river and died, others, because of the timely intervention of responders, were rescued. Also, there are some who were dissuaded from killing themselves while still on the bridge.
PRESSINFORMAT, however, reports that there could be individuals who might have plunged into the Lagoon at a time nobody would see them.
The Lagos Lagoon, which is more than 50km long and 13km wide, is a beauty to behold. But, people are still finding answers to why ‘prospective suiciders’ have found it to be the most convenient place to put a stop to living.
“How could we describe the fact that somebody left Ota in Ogun State to go and commit suicide in the Lagos Lagoon? Does that mean there are no waters in the entire Ogun State,” Adebisi Ojo, a civil servant sought to know.
In October 2017, a 40-year-old man, who was identified as Adekunle Oluseyi from Ondo State, had jumped into the lagoon from the Lekki–Ikoyi Link Bridge.
A year after, PRESSINFORMAT reported that a staff member of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Ikoyi had parked his car and jumped into the lagoon from the 3rd Mainland Bridge.
It was said that the deceased parked the vehicle he was driving on the bridge and told other occupants that he wanted to urinate.
In February 2020, Daibo Toju Davies, 22, had jumped into the same lagoon on the 3rd Mainland bridge. Davies, who was until his death a resident of 17, Sosanya Street, Gbagada Soluyi, Lagos, was said to have hired an Uber driver from a hospital in Gbagada. On the bridge, he had stopped the driver on the pretence that he was suffering from a stomach upset, only for him to jump into the lagoon.
On December 16, 2021, a National Diploma certificate holder, Lekan Odunare, plunged into the lagoon. A video of Odunare sitting on the rails of the bridge before plunging into the lagoon went viral last year. He dived into the waters even as the man filming the scene was heard asking him questions.
In the same vein, one 67-year-old Oluwatoye Bamgboye, a resident of Oju-Ore in Ogun State, chose his birthday, April 5, 2022, as the day to call it quits in life. However, he was about to follow the steps of other suiciders when officials of the Rapid Response Squad on patrol of the 3rd Mainland Bridge sighted him.
Bamgboye was said to have complained of burden and frustration, saying after selling his assets to settle a loan, he lost his job.
“Today being my birthday, I have decided to end it all. The burden and the frustration are too much for me to bear. My wife has abandoned me in the process,” the man was quoted as saying.
Last month, A viral video of a man plunging into the lagoon surfaced online. The man had considered suicide because he was accused of stealing a huge amount of money, which he denied knowledge of.
The most recent case of suicide involving the Lagos lagoon was that of a lady said to be an officer of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The lady was identified as Adetutu Adedokun. She had jumped into the lagoon following a heated argument with her boyfriend, who was said to have recently proposed to her and they were about getting married.
Adedokun had alighted from an Uber car on the bridge and jumped off into the lagoon.
It is spiritual, lagoon in need of sacrifices – Traditionalist says
Speaking on the incessant cases of suicide in the lagoon, a traditionalist, Sule Anigboro, told PRESSINFORMAT that the incident might not be ordinary.
Anigboro, a popular herbalist in Iperu Remo, viewed the incident from a spiritual angle, calling on the Oba of Lagos and other Yoruba elders to take action.
According to him, those who are supposed to worship the lagoon and offer sacrifices might have stopped doing so for reasons known to them. This, he said, might be the reason the water keeps attracting people under the guise of suicide.
“The question we should be asking is, are they worshipping that lagoon or not? I am not sure they do. The water might be requesting something and the failure to offer it could be the reason people plunge into it. We have a river here in Iperu. One day, a woman coming from Lagos just dropped by the park and headed straight to the river. She jumped into it with her money and ATM cards. Things like this do happen, but people pay no attention.
“Many of these waters used to accept sacrifices in the olden days, now that they no longer get such attention, they may get angry. Those things of the past are still in existence. We have some spirits that operate only at night.
“I can confirm to you that there are mermaids in the rivers. Even the white men do appease the mermaids before constructing bridges. We Yorubas are deviating from our tradition. Is there no mermaid in Osun River?
“In Igbo land, if you impregnate a woman without paying her bride price, you will be in trouble if she dies because you will wed the corpse. Look at the Ilajes, they still deep their babies in the rivers to confirm the babies are theirs. These are traditions that are still in existence, but we Yorubas have forgotten our origin,” Anigboro stated.
He advised that, “Let’s give what belongs to Caesar to Caesar,” saying “that doesn’t make us idol worshippers.”
We can’t blame lagoon for suicide cases – Islamic scholar
In an interview with our correspondent, an Islamic scholar, Shaykh Moruf Kolawole Yusuf said the lagoon should not be blamed for people’s decision to end their lives.
Yusuf, who is the Founder/Mudeer of Markazul-Aqlaam, Owode-Yewa, said God truly created many things and placed them in their own places of abode based on their adaptive features, adding that it is God Himself that could know if truly He created mermaids or not.
“From Islamic perspective, it cannot be agreed that it is the mermaid in the lagoon on any spirit living therein that is responsible for the way people jump into it. Islam has made us realise that there is no other God except Allah and Prophet Muhammed is His messenger. With that our faith, we must also accept whatever comes our way as Muslims.
“If God created me a black man, but I choose to bleach my skin to white because I like the complexion of a white man, if I later develop skin cancer, can I blame the cream? No, I have stopped being someone who believes in Qadar, that is the destiny of either good or bad,” he said.
The cleric maintained that people who pray regularly would not contemplate killing themselves.
“The reason people are killing themselves is because of frustration, betrayal, heartbreaks and depression. If you have faith, even if you see another man sleeping with your wife, you won’t misbehave. Look at that man who killed himself because he was accused of stealing, is that enough reason to commit suicide? Lack of faith is why people make that ugly decision. God has told us that we as humans may go through some tough moments at times, but we must have faith in God,” Yusuf added.
He charged the Lagos State Government to take some precautionary safety measures by deploying security agents to the area to stop those on suicide mission.
He stated that the Holy Quran has warned individuals against taking their own lives, saying it is a sin before God.
“If truly there are mermaids or any other creatures in the river, it is God who will know why He created them there. But what is the relationship between a mermaid and somebody who goes to the lagoon to commit suicide! It is just like school children who left their school and went to the stream to swim, if they got drowned, can we blame a mermaid or any spirit? Why didn’t the school prevent them from going to the stream? We all need to sensitise our people, especially the youths, that suicide is not the way to go,” he advised.