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Anambra Library Marks World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

By Izunna OkaforĀ 
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Suicide has been described as a deliberate and very abominable act against God, one's self, humanity and the society at large.

Monsignor Jerome Madueke of Ekwulobia Catholic Diocese made the assertion at a one-day event organised by the Anambra State Library Board, to mark the 2020 World Suicide Prevention Day.

Delivering a speech at the event which held at the Prof. Kenneth Dike State Central E-Library, Awka; Monsignor Madueke revealed that according to data from the World Health Organisation, about 800, 000 people (globally) die of suicide every year, boiling down to one death every 40 seconds, while suicide attempt annually hovers around over 20, 000, 000.

While noting that religion and religious leaders have a plethora of roles to play in curbing/preventing suicide, the Monsignor whose speech dwelt more on suicide vis-à-vis religion and spirituality, faulted the opinions and perception of some people about religion, including those of some German Philosophers like Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, among others; even as he urged everyone never to even think of suicide as an option, let alone indulging in it, irrespective of how hideous and hopeless life and situation may appear to them.

He said, "God himself does not give up on human beings; and so, do not give up, because there is always grace, opportunity and possibility for change. God commands that we should not kill, be it by way of murder, suicide or abortion. We are each, responsible for our lives, to protect, defend and promote it. Always help a defenseless life, and also help those who are in crisis or depressed, to really recover, and not take away their lives."

On her own part, the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Ugokwe Josephine Rita who dwelt on the psychological aspect of suicide said that most people do not necessarily commit suicide because they are depressed or have psychiatric or psychological problems (as there are many other people out there who are also depressed or have psychiatric or psychological problems, yet they haven't committed suicide).

She rather argued that most people commit suicide because they have suicide ideation or see suicide as their own option to problem solving.

Earlier in her address of welcome, the Director Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze described the day as an international day set aside by the United Nations for prevention of suicide globally. She also revealed that the Library decided to join the commemoration of the day this year and has also integrated it into the catalogue of the annual international days they mark, so as to join their voice, as a library, and play their own part in the prevention of suicide.

She described this year's theme of the event — "Working Together to Prevent Suicide" — as well-chosen, and maintained that by working together, assisting/encouraging one another, and everyone playing his own part, suicide will be prevented and the rate, drastically reduced, globally.

"Nothing is worth dying for in this life," she added.

Also speaking, the Director-General, Digital Entrepreneurship Office, Mr. Ifeanyi Aniagoh, who noted that he has no sympathy for anyone who commits suicide, further attributed the increasing rate of suicide in the society today to a change in the value system, and advised that going back to the ancient value system of character, contentment, quality and truthfulness is the simplest way to preventing suicide.

Contributing, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Secondary Education, Dr. Paul Ifeanyi, opined that sociological, political and ideological orientations are ingredients for contemplating suicide, even as he urged people to be contented with what they have, put their trust and hope in God, and work harder, rather than unnecessarily comparing themselves with others or even tying their lives and comfort to worldly things, which, he said, can all lead to depression, and consequently, to suicide.

The well-attended event featured questions and answers, poetry rendition, and drama presentation on suicide, by members of the Society of Young Nigerians Writers (Anambra State Chapter).