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‘I didn’t drown, I was the water,’ UNN final year student wrote before suicide

University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)

Forgive me. In case you are the one who found the body, I am really sorry. It had to be someone, you know. I have chosen Jo Nketaih’s poem as my suicide note: “They said you came looking for me. I didn’t drown; I was the water.” Where do atheists go to when they die? lol. Amen.

With the above suicide note posted on Facebook, 22-year-old Chukwuemeka Akachi, a final year student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) penned his last note to the world before logging out finally by committing suicide on Monday.

Akachi, who described himself on his Facebook page as “Human. Semicolon (;) Survivor and Finit hic Deo (God ends here),” dropped the electronic suicide note on Monday at 7:01a.m.

While the Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the incident, describing it as “unfortunate,” two of his lecturers had confessed to counseling him against taking his own life. The Public Relations Officer of UNN, Okwun Omeaku, did not respond to calls made to his mobile phone.

A senior personnel in UNN Security Department, who pleaded anonymity, also confirmed the incident, adding that the report was brought to them on Monday morning. He said this was not the first time Akachi wanted to commit suicide, adding that on two occasions, he had drunk kerosene and petrol to kill himself, but was rescued.

An eyewitness said Akachi went to an uncompleted building on Sullivan Road, Nsukka, where he drank two bottles of ‘Sniper’, an insecticide, and slipped into coma. He added that the deceased was discovered by some passersby, who reportedly saw him in a state of coma.

He said the people, mainly students, raised the alarm before he was rushed to UNN Federal Medical Centre. It was further learnt that he was later moved to University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla Enugu, where he was confirmed dead by doctors on duty.

Akachi, a native of Eha-Alumona in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, was said to have been battling mental illness for close to two months. It was gathered that following Akachi’s earlier threat to end his own life, the institution had detailed two lecturers to advise him to stop the idea.

Akachi, who was a student of English and Literary Studies as well as a budding poet, reportedly took a poisonous substance that ended his life.

One of his lecturers, who didn’t want his name in print, confirmed Akachi succeeded in taking his own life the second time he attempted it, having attempted suicide before.

It was also gathered that Akachi had had a long battle with mental health, while he seemed to have used his Facebook posts to express himself.

For instance, in a profile update containing a photograph, Akachi had written, “Demons.” In another one dated April 11, 2017, he wrote, “The Music Stopped.”

Yet, in another post six weeks ago dated March 28, 2019 and featuring a grotesque image, Akachi had written, “Current state of mind.” When one of the people who commented on the post, Chiemeziem Everest Udochukwu, noted, “This thing is scary, Chukwuemeka!” Akachi replied, “This is me.”

On April 23, Akachi posted what appeared to be the result of a poetry he had submitted for an unstated competition. He wrote: “Some rejections sef. SMH. Dear Chukwuemeka Akachi, Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. It was a pleasure to read your poetry, but unfortunately, the submission is not right for us at this time.

“Special note: our editors and readers marked your poetry as some that stood above the rest. We want to offer you our sincere respect and encouragement. We appreciate the effort every poet takes to write, and the courage every submission demands as it’s sent out—we see you poet.”

On Sunday, May 12, Akachi had written on his Facebook page: My mental health has been on life support for a while now. Thanks to those who call. Text. Visit. Speak to me. May we always remember. May we never forget. You may have added a few hours, months or days to my time here. But you know life support is expensive right? Thanks for trying. Amen.”

Meanwhile, a University of Benin (UNIBEN) graduating student, Emmanuel Oluwasayomi Ahmadu, popularly known as Mr. Voiceover, has flagged off a mental health awareness and sensitization programme nationwide, focused on tackling the menace of depression and suicide in Nigeria.

The national campaign is geared towards curbing the alarming rate of suicide, especially among youths in Nigeria and to be a voice of hope to those suffering from depression and those contemplating suicide as a result of the hard times.

In an interview with the convener, Mr Voiceover, who is a survivor of depression and suicide attempts, he spoke on what motivated him to organize the campaign, saying: “I have great burden for youths who are going through hard times because I know what it feels to be depressed, which sometimes could lead to suicidal thoughts.

In line with my story on how I wrote O’level exams 17 times, attended 16 primary schools, enrolled in 14 secondary schools and took the University Matriculation Examination five times before gaining admission into the university, this led to serious depression and suicidal thoughts, but I was able to overcome it. I am using my story to give ray of hope to people who are going through various challenges and are depressed and are contemplating suicide.”

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