Police Detains Jobless Youth Over Attempted Suicide as Court Grants N200,000 Bail Fee

A 21-year-old boy, identified as Solomon Okon, has been in police custody for over a month for allegedly drinking a poisonous substance.

It was learnt that Solomon who worked as a porter at Havana Hospital, Surulere, Lagos, drank the poisonous substance after receiving a letter that be has been relieved of his duties.

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A relative of Okon stated that he had since been charged to court.

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He said, “Okon was working at Havana Hospital and received N35, 000 a month. He was squatting with a friend and was using part of the money to take care of his mother in Akwa Ibom. In August, he received a letter terminating his employment.

“Out of frustration, he ingested a poisonous substance. However, because it all happened in the hospital, he was quickly attended to and was able to recover to some extent. The hospital management reported the matter to the Barracks Police Station and then he was arrested and detained.”

Muyiwa Adejobi the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the incident, stating that Okon was still in police custody.

He said, “The case has been taken to court. He was arraigned on August 28, 2020, before Magistrate Patrick N of Court two Yaba. Adjournment date: October 15, 2020. He is remanded in police facility at Surulere.”

However, Okon pleaded not guilty to the charge, nevertheless he was granted the sum of N200,000 with two sureties by the magistrate.

A relative of Okon’s told newsmen that there was no way they could afford the sum.

He said, “This young man tried to commit suicide because of poverty and frustration. Rather than get him a job, he is being detained and money is being demanded from him. This young man needs help. He needs assistance. He needs medical attention and counselling.

“The hospital tried by giving him medical treatment but it shouldn’t have reported the guy to the police. Now, we are all running all over the place. We need human rights lawyers to assist us.”

Attempts to get information from the hospital proved abortive as a representative refused to speak stating that the matter cannot be discussed over the phone.

According to the 2016 Global Health Observatory data repository of the World Health Organisation, there is an estimated 9.5 suicides per 100,000 Nigerians.

Attempted suicide is a criminal offence in Nigeria under Section 327 of the Criminal Code and it attracts a penalty of up to one year in prison which human rights groups describe as immoral.

Reports have it that the figure may now be higher due to a worsening unemployment rate and rising poverty levels.

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