The spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Frank Mba, has expressed disapproval with the imprisonment of people who attempt to kill themselves.
Many cases of widespread suicides and attempted suicides have been recorded in the country in recent times, with many blaming the purported rise on Nigeria’s economic struggles.
According to the Section 327 of the Criminal Code Act, any Nigerian convicted of attempting suicide can be imprisoned for one year.
In a series of articles authored by Mba, he offered tips on how individuals can recognise suicidal tendencies in others, and how suicidal people can overcome thoughts about ending their lives.
In the final article in which he focused on how others can help suicidal people overcome suicidal thoughts, Mba said people who fail in suicide attempts should be supported and cared for by relevant authorities, and not punished with imprisonment as the law says.
He said, “Under the Penal Code, Section 327, for instance, any person who attempts to kill himself is liable to imprisonment for one year.
“Some observers have wondered why the law should punish victims of failed suicide or persons who unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide.
“They contend that in as much as the suicidal persons do not pose any threat to, or administer physical hurt on others, there is no justifiable basis subjecting them to punishment following unsuccessful suicide attempts.
“Frankmba.ng identifies with such position. It submits that, as evident from our analysis so far on suicide, such victims need help, support and care. It reiterates further that rather than criminalising failed suicide attempts, relevant authorities should in fact, create support groups/lines to provide them with help, as truth be told, such victims do not need to be labelled, stigmatized, nor do they need to be given jail sentence!
“The only persons that deserve to be punished are persons who knowingly or deliberately facilitated, aided or abetted suicide.”
Mba called on Nigerian lawmakers to take a closer look at the nation’s laws and make necessary amendments.