By Fr Pat. Amobi Chukwuma
A certain man lost all he laboured for in life in an inferno that gutted everything in his shop. At the same period, armed robbers broke into the bank where he kept all his money and carted away billions of Naira after killing the bank manager and two policemen on duty. It was a double tragedy.
The man saw himself in a precarious situation and lost hope in life. As a result, he decided to commit suicide as the best option out of his predicament. His wife and children were not at home on the fateful day. He sat down and wrote a suicide note which reads: “I am tired of this life because I lost all I have in a twinkling of an eye. My life is now hopeless.
Therefore, I am ending it today. My dear wife and children, I am sorry for leaving you without any premonition. Do not weep for me. Take care of yourselves. Goodbye!” He drank a bottle of hot drink and left with a rope. He climbed a mango tree behind his house and tied the rope on one of its branches.
As he was about to insert his head in the noose, he heard several gunshots at close range. It was unbelievable. He was scared and ran away instantly. Perhaps the gunshots warned him not to do what he intended. Thus, he postponed the suicide indefinitely.
At last he hurriedly went back to his house and tore the suicide note he kept for his wife and three children who were still away. Tongues started wagging. If the hopeless man was serious, the gunshots would not have deterred him from taking his life.
The bullets would have aided him to do it quicker than he expected. Later he learnt a lesson from the attempted suicide. He began life anew by driving a commercial motorcycle through hire purchase. Below the machine’s plate number he inscribed: “The downfall of a man is not the end of his life.”
Some years ago, a local musician popularly known as 77 told a story of an unfortunate man who went into an evil forest to end his life by hanging. As he was climbing the suicide tree, he heard a shrill voice from below shouting, “Odogwu na-ari enu, biko adagbukwana mu-o-o!” The crippled imbecile was appealing to the man about to hang himself on that tree not to fall on him, agonizing below.
The man stopped and looked down well. He saw a crippled and imbecile boy bound with rope and thrown into the evil forest to die. He reasoned that if the crippled imbecile had still hope to live despite his awful condition, how can he that was full of life hang himself? At once he jumped down from the tree, threw away the suicide rope and returned home.
From that day he took the nickname “Never Give Up.” He started life from the scratch. Today, he is a successful business man. Had he killed himself, he would by now be doing unsuccessful business in hell.
Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman for companionship and procreation. It is for better and for worse. It happened that a God-fearing man married his heartthrob. Their wedding was superb. Pregnancy eluded them after two years of the marriage.
Nonetheless, they were still hopeful. Twelve years went by and childlessness was still staring them in the face. They offered various prayers asking God for fruit of the womb. In addition, they spent millions of Naira on the treatment of infertility problems.
Their prayer and medication didn’t put smile on their faces after 18 years of the marriage. At this point they began to despair and withdrew gradually from church activities. Also age was not on their side.
The devil struck after 20 years of the marriage. The childless couple decided to bring their sorrowful condition to abrupt end. With the consent of the unhappy wife, the husband went to market and bought a poisonous chemical. After taking their last lunch, they both knelt down and prayed together in these words: “God, we are sorry for deciding to end our childless marriage today by drinking this poison.
Please forgive us and temper justice with mercy as we come before your judgment seat.” As they were about to drink the poison, their parish priest came in unexpectedly and he shouted, “Don’t do it! God is never asleep! Your prayer is about to be answered.” He forcefully snatched the poisonous cups from them and threw them away, including the poison container.
The despaired couple started to cry. The priest consoled them and encouraged them with various verses from the Bible. They confessed their sins and made all necessary atonement. Also they resolved to serve God faithfully for the rest of their lives, even if they remain childless.
After one year of the attempted suicide, they opted for child adoption. Luckily they adopted a bouncing baby boy, whom they named Ogechukwu (God’s time). They were happy and the vacuum of childlessness was filled. Two years rolled by, they contemplated adopting a baby girl. As they were making necessary arrangements, God came in and their condition was changed for the better.
The ageing wife discovered some unusual movement within her womb. Immediately she consulted her doctor who confirmed that she was pregnant with a set of twins. The couple became intoxicated with extraordinary joy. They exclaimed with one voice, “God is great!” After nine months of pregnancy, the wife was delivered of bouncing baby twins, a boy and a girl.
They were overjoyed. The boy was named Perseverance while the girl was called Patience. Put together, they now have three children; one by legal adoption and two by birth. With prayer one waits for God’s time through perseverance and patience. The two Ps are sine qua non as children of God living in a stormy world.
As I was writing this article, I got a bad news from University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). What happened? It is pitiful and quite regrettable. A 300 level student of Biochemistry committed suicide because his mobile phone was seized by the supervisor in the exam hall.
He was guilty of examination malpractice. The supervisor tore his already copied work towards the end of the examination. Being so kind, the supervisor gave him a new sheet of paper and asked him to begin to write a fresh because he copied before. Instead of being courageous, he got despaired and hurriedly left the exam hall. The devil hijacked him and led him to an obnoxious mountain.
There he bought rat poison and washing bleach. He went into his room and drank them, one after the other. But both did not produce the desired result. Hence, on the night of that fateful Friday, he plunged himself down from the top of the three-storey building where he was residing. It was unfortunate that no one was around to tell him not to do it. The landlord and tenants rushed him to hospital where he died some minutes later. Can we say: may he rest in peace or rest in pieces?
His death was embedded in frustration and cowardice. Before taking his life he complained also of lack of sufficient fund from his parents. This shows that he might be “nwa mummy” who never passed through any stress during his parental upbringing.
Thus, the parents are guilty of his bad physical and moral upbringing. The late student probably might have been studying Biochemistry in order to balance the biological and chemical inadequacies in his metabolic system. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to actualize it. What explanations would he render to God for terminating his life by himself?
A fuel tanker filled with the commodity is highly inflammable. The electrical live high tension wire is highly dangerous. Any tampering with it results in fatality. On the other hand, the human and economic tensions in our country Nigeria nowadays are very high. Consequently, many Nigerians are suffering from frustration. Many have gone.
The rate of suicide in the country today is at its climax due to failure in leadership. The dividends of Democracy are in the hand of a few. The cost of governance at the state and federal levels is unimaginable. Thus, the richer continues to get richer while the poor get poorer. The moral law states that the means justifies the end. Unfortunately today in the land, the end justifies the means.
For this reason, terrorism, kidnapping and banditry have become means of livelihood for bad elements in the society as a result of frustration. Our government has failed in her primary duty of safeguarding the lives and property of her citizens. Insecurity is our common enemy. Hence, innocent blood is flowing everywhere in the country. No wonder a bill is lying on the floor of the House of Representatives which, when passed into law, will permit every Nigerian to carry arms for self defense.
In a nutshell, every crime is an abominable act. The voice of God shouts through our consciences, “Don’t do it!”