Hanging has overtaken sniper as the leading method of suicide in Nigeria. Reports show that most of the victims of suicide in 2020 took their life through hanging, showing that this method has taken over from sniper which was the dominant suicide method in 2019.
Fresh study revealed that 63 suicide incidents were recorded in Nigeria in 2020, based on media reports. This shows a drop in suicide cases by 10% compared to total number of incidents in 2019. Out of the 63 reported incidents, 78% (49) of the victims were male while 22% (14) were female.
One startling revelation from this study conducted by massmediang, an online news platform, is that there was a rise in incidents involving hanging as a method of suicide among Nigerians. In 2019, 28% of all suicide cases were through hanging while in 2020, majority of the suicide victims took their life through hanging. Data shows that out of 63 incidents of suicide in 2020, 38% (24) of the victims took their life through hanging, 33% (21) died by drinking sniper/poisonous substance, 11% (7) died by shooting themselves, while 13% (8) died through other means such as jumping into lagoon or off storey building, setting self ablaze, or taking other dangerous substances; 5% (3) of the reported incidents did not indicated how the victims took their life. It was also revealed that 87% (55) of the cases were suicide cases involving only the victim (which was classified as suicide in the study) while 13% (8) were murder-suicide cases. This indicates a rise in murder-suicide incidents in 2020, moving from only three of such incidents in 2019 to eight in 2020.
In terms of reasons for the suicide decision by victims, not all the reported cases in the media indicated reasons why the victim took the decision. But from the 46 reports that mentioned the reasons, 46% (21) took their life because of frustration/depression, 28% (13) did so because of failed/troubled relationship with partner, 9% (4) did so because of suspected mental challenge, 6% (3) did so because of academic challenge, while 11% (5) did so due to various other reasons. Also, majority of the victims 68% were single while 31% were married, according to media reports that indicated victim’s marital status.
Lagos state had the highest number of incidents, with 11 suicide cases, as reported innthe media. This was followed by Anambra state with 6 incidents, and Benue state with 5 incidents. Other states are Imo – 4, Enugu, Cross River, Osun and Nasarawa states – 3 each, Delta, Bayelsa, Abia, Kaduna, Rivers, Ogun, and Kano states, including Abuja – 2 incidents each, Katsina, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Ebonyi, and Edo states – 1 each. The media did not report of any suicide incidents in a total of 14 states. The states are Borno, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa, Ekiti, Oyo, Niger, Plateau, Taraba, Gombe, Kebbi, Kwara, Adamawa, and Bauchi. It is possible there may have been cases of suicide in this states which were not made public through the media. The fact is that according to media reports monitored in the course of this study, no suicide incidents took place in these 14 states. This study was based on media reports that appeared in mainstream media or some other relatively reliable social media.
How the study was done
Massmediang adopted the data journalism technique in reporting the trend of suicides in 2020. Suicide reports in the media were compiled and published on a monthly basis, from January to December 2021. These media reports were then compiled and analysed to come up with the final report on total suicide incidents throughout the year.
The complete list of suicide victims in various states of the country was also recorded in the study. Most of the incidents were cross-checked in both social and mainstream media to further measure authenticity of the incidents. The doubtful incidents which appeared in just one or two social media platforms were not recorded. See details of victims names and date suicide was committed, including other relevant facts about the incident.