Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, has said the upper legislative chamber will not relent, until it ensures that the federal government places a blanket ban on the sale of sniper insecticide.
He has also said the lawmakers have reached that consensus due to the rate at which some Nigerians consume the poisonous chemical to commit suicide.
Speaking at the induction of Africa Project Against Suicide’s Board of Trustees in Abuja, Boroffice called on all Nigerians to take the fight against suicide seriously, noting that the increasing rate of the crime had become worrisome.
He said the Senate was also concerned over widespread claims that the poisonous chemical was also being used by some ignorant foodstuff sellers, as preservative.
“The frequency of suicide cases in Nigeria has become an issue of concern to the Nigerian Senate, hence the issue was thoroughly discussed on the floor of the Senate.
“We suggested the ban on snipers because of the rate at which people consume the product in their bid to commit suicide; and we are also worried over widespread claims that some food sellers use the poisonous chemical as preservative.
“So we recommended that this and other urgent measures should be taken, so as to save lives,” he explained.
Boroffice, who was inducted as BoT chairman of the APAS, said he accepted the bestowal “because of seriousness of the issue on ground”.
He noted that suicide had become a national issue that needed the collaboration of everyone to combat.
He, as such, counselled the newly constituted BoT to work in unity and focus on combating suicide, noting that the leadership of the senate would support any noble move to arrest the trend.
Speaking on the occasion, a guest speaker from the United Kingdom, Mr. Kola Akinpelu, said only Botswana had a national strategy on preventing suicide in Africa, appealing to the Nigerian government to also come up with a similar strategy on the issue of suicide.
He said the fight against suicide could not be effectively done individually or by any organisation without the cooperation of the government.
On the rising cases of suicide in Nigeria, Akinpelu suggested that awareness programmes should be taken to every nook and cranny of the country.
Speaking too, the International Director of APAS, Pastor Honey Olawale, said 14 countries in Africa had been covered by the organisation, in its campaigns against suicide.
“Many lives have been rescued by APAS since the inception of the project in Nigeria, and I am restating our commitment to the reduction of suicide cases in Nigeria,” he said.
The National Coordinator of APAS, Mrs. Adenike Sotunde, a pharmacist, listed the causes of suicide as substance abuse, mental illness, relationship issues, poverty, disappointment or failure, financial stress, among others.
She advised Nigerians to always speak up in times of difficulty, even as she released a hotline for counselling via whatsapp as, 08038574852.
Other members of the newly constituted BoT of the APAS are: Mr. Swem Collins, Mr. Debulak Lamu, Sotunde, Pastor Peter Inyang, Olawale, and Mr. Roland Andekin.