The spate of suicide attempts in Lagos for quite some time has become alarming. Report has it that within the space of three months, four people that included a medical doctor, two women and an elderly man chose the Lagoon as their death-spot.
Observers are of the view that with the way the Lagos Lagoon has suddenly become a notorious destination for suicide act and that if care is not taken, it may well in due course, become one of the most suicide spots in the country.
When Nigerian Tribune visited Adekunle end of the 11-kilometre long bridge during the week, the location was a beehive of activities, ranging from timber contractors, plank sellers, sand diggers and fishermen, who made the under the bridge, their business abode.
Eliciting information from them on what their experiences have been on those who choose the location to end their lives, received reactions that sounded both sublime and ridiculous.
To convince the respondent of this reporter’s mission was not easy, as some of them expressed fears of not wanting to “enter police problem”, to use the words of Reuben Rukevwen, a timber operator, who volunteered information.
According to him, being somebody that his trade required frequent stay on water, seeing corpse floating in the lagoon is not something new.
“Although, one cannot say for a certainty, that every corpse floating on water was suicide victim. These days, ritualists and kidnappers do dump their victims inside water to avoid detection.
“Again, one cannot determine if somebody is about to jump into the lagoon, especially, on Third mainland Bridge, because the rate at which pedestrians use the facility is so insignificant. So, to understand the motive by anybody that park his/her vehicle whether they want to commit suicide is difficult to determine”, he said.
Another respondent who identified himself simply as “Adam,” brought a new dimension that is shocking. “You people just talk about the ones that happen in the day time. There are occasions you will see people in the dead of the night who may mistakenly take for lunatics or destitute, and before you know what is going on, may have jumped into the lagoon, at least, we have witnessed such not once or twice last year”, Adam claimed.
On why it seems that Third mainland Bridge is attractive, Pa Tim Benson, an Ilaje octogenarian was of the view that when one is under a spell, he/she would choose such spot where rescue will be totally impossible.
“There are many factors that induce suicide mission. Those who are overwhelmed with life situation may choose less drastic options such taking of poisonous substance, jumping inside well and so on, which, by quick intervention may be rescued. But for those under spell, spot like this bridge is better option; it’s a journey without return”. He narrated.
But some of the respondent were quick to dispelled the notion that Third Mainland Bridge is the hot spot for suicide mission, saying nothing stops the victims to use Eko, or Carter bridges.
“Just because human traffic is heavier at those two bridges make them less attractive, unlike the 3rd Mainland Bridge where pedestrian hardly available. So, with that kind of loneliness that characterized the long bridge, it’s easier to carry out the act without let or hindrance”, noted Pa Benson.
But to some, the river goddess needs to be appeased. To those who hold such belief, anytime the goddess is angry, it has the means to induce her preferred victims to commit suicide ‘and that they will do with uncanny precision’.
“What I will suggest is that government should liaise with the traditionalists who know what to do to appease the river goddesses.
“This is no superstition, it’s real. If anybody want to deny their existence, that person is suffering from ignorance and the earlier the better that this advice is taking seriously”, Said Chief Taiwo Akinade, who said because corpse do flow far away from the spot on incidents undermine the gravity of the issue.
It would be recalled that another tragedy was averted in Lagos on Friday, March 24, 2017, barely a week after a medical Doctor, Allwell Orji jumped into the lagoon, as police rescued a woman who attempted to commit suicide by taking a dive into the Lagos lagoon from the same third Mainland Bridge.
The woman, identified as Taiwo Titilayo Momoh, tried jumping into the lagoon from the bridge attempted suicide before she was prevented from doing so own to what observers attributed to the “divine intervention”
According to reports credited to the Lagos State commissioner of police, Fatai Owoseni, stated that Momoh was going towards Oworonshoki when she asked the driver of the taxi to stop on the bridge.
“The woman was about to jump into the lagoon when a police patrol team saw her and rushed to stop her from taking her life.The woman, identified as Taiwo Titilayo Momoh, tried jumping into the lagoon from the third Mainland Bridge, Lagos.
“She attempted suicide by attempting to jump into the Lagoon around
Oworonshoki inward mainland axis of the third Mainland Bridge, Unfortunately for her, she was rescued.
“The police patrol team sighted her and rushed to rescue her before she jumped into the lagoon.”, said the police chief.
Owoseni further said it has become an offence for people to walk on bridges in Lagos State. He also said no vehicle would be allowed to stop on the bridges again in order to prevent such incidents. “Right now, the woman is still in trauma and she still insists that she wants to end her life,” he said.