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Will Sniper ban reduce suicide rate?

Will Sniper ban reduce suicide rate?

By Maria Famakinwa
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Worried by the frightening dimension in which Nigerians are taking their lives through drinking of Sniper chemical, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently  announced a ban on sale of Sniper and other brands of agricultural formulations of Dichloruos following rampant suicide cases and abuse of the products.

Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Moji Adeyeye said that from September 1, 2019, Sniper and other related products would not be sold in super markets and in the open markets and that such products should only be used for outdoor purposes and not private houses.

Sniper is a very popular brand of insecticide in Nigeria that belongs to the DDVP chemical family believed by many as being potent in killing insects such as mosquitoes, cockroaches and others. Sniper like many other chemicals is very harmful when in contact with human digestive system, but it is very surprising that this deadly substance have become the easy way out for some hopeless Nigerians especially the youth to terminate their lives blaming their actions on depression, poor academic performance, disappointment, loneliness among others.

The Hope spoke with cross section of Akure residents on if banning Sniper could address increasing suicide rate in the country. A civil servant, Mrs Christiana Oluwole said that banning of Sniper is a step in wrong direction as she argued that the root cause of the problem is left unattended to. “Sniper is not the problem, it is the situation that leave people thinking that death is the only solution to the challenges they are facing. People can as well jump into rivers/off bridges, stab themselves to death, drive their cars into walls. Do we ban rivers, bridges, cars and knives? Let the government at all levels address the root cause of the problem that is where lies the solution.”

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Sharing similar sentiment, a self employed father of three, Mr Goke Olotu, also advised the Federal Government to stop chasing shadow instead of facing the real issue. “We all knew that bad economy is the reason many drank Sniper to end their lives because committing suicide was forbidden to our culture until recently when the economy became unbearable for ordinary people to cope. If the economy remain the same, even with the ban of Sniper, hopeless and depressed citizens can result to another means of taking their lives.”

Reacting differently, an undergraduate, Miss Feyikemi Olulayo, explained that it is better to ban Sniper in the country to prevent further deaths among the youth. “The idea of people especially students committing suicide is beyond control. Once the thought of committing suicide came, they concluded that after all, many students had done the same by  taking sniper that they can easily get with N200 and before you know what was happening, they decided to do the same. If sniper is out of circulation, people’s minds will not go there any longer.

“As I am talking to you now, some frustrated students are contemplating either to end their lives like others since they can get Sniper just the way they get bread. I believe that a step to ban sniper in the country is a good one as the product is becoming an easy way to early grave for students. Other deadly chemicals should also be banned along with sniper because they might want to switch them as alternative.”

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Another undergraduate, Mr Kayode Komolafe who said that it is not enough to ban sniper, want NAFDAC to start arresting anyone who sell sniper and other deadly chemicals. “Doing this will make the ban more effective and further create the awareness that no one should sell or use sniper again. School authorities also have a role to play by organising seminars on the evil of suicide to address the trend and let students understand that nothing really worth loosing one’s life for not even poor academic performance or depression because life is sacrosanct.”

A parent, Mr Adeolu Olawale, also supported the ban of Sniper as he added that it is long overdue. “I think the decision to ban sniper is coming rather too late. If our future pride are taking their lives by drinking sniper, why is NAFDAC waiting till now to ban it?.

On the argument that hopeless citizens can still commit suicide through other means said that it would not be as much as that of sniper. “What you should understand is that sniper is becoming the new option to committing suicide, out of ten reported suicide cases in the country, eight will be linked to sniper because you can get it at nearby shop and very cheap. If getting it is not easy, it will help to discourage people from forcefully killing themselves.”

A counselor, Mrs Toyin Ebunoluwa, who lamented the rising suicide cases among the youth described the pathetic trend as alien to our culture and urged parents and family members to be interested in the affairs of their children. “The only solution to rising suicide cases is for the family to be more united. The family bond is no longer what it was in the past and once the family is not united, there will be no peace in the society which is evident going by what we are experiencing across the country today.

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“The government also must play its own part to complement that of the family by fixing the economy thus providing enabling environment for already frustrated youth to actualize their dreams. Improving the economy of the country will address social vices witnessing in the around and the nation will be peaceful.”

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