PRESS STATEMENT: MARCH AGAINST SUICIDE; MARCH TO SMASH CAPITALISM!
The Movement for a Socialist Alternative, MSA, joins in solidarity with the AJ House of Poetry to mark the World Suicide Prevention Day with a “March Against Suicide” organized in the Ajegunle community on Thursday, 10th September.
We empathize with working-class families, who have lost their loved ones by this form of horrible death, whose fundamental root cause is directly and indirectly linked to the economic hardship in the country. This is a consequence of the neo-liberal, capitalist system which continues to condemn millions of the suffering masses to poverty.
Statistically, the World Health Organization, in a report wrote that “close to 800, 000 people died due to suicide every day, which is one person every 40 seconds.” The report also stated that many of these suicides are committed by persons between the ages of 15-29 and above, which, in a country like Nigeria, impacts a higher percentage of young people from a working-class background. With the increase of poverty, unemployment and economic challenges facing the poor, the rise in the rate of suicide is an accident waiting to happen, if nothing fundamentally is done to address its social and economic roots.
The fact that a lot of depressed people are incapable of accessing the necessary therapy in our General Hospitals is a fault that should be placed at the feet of the government that has failed to provide the enabling environment, for specialization in crucial fields. The health sector is hugely underfunded by the state, with not enough hands to attend to patients. The MSA calls on the government to do the needful by providing facilities that will allow all depressed persons to freely access the necessary medical assistance and therapy at no cost to the patients. If mental or psychological health problems are treated earlier, certainly, it will not worsen and many cases of suicide will be avoided.
The increasing difficulty to attain fulfillment in our present society, get dignifying jobs, or procure the necessities of life, like food, shelter, and clothing, are driving many to end their lives, which the capitalist society has enabled by making those things essential to life and happiness the privilege of a wealthy class. Suicide is therefore not a consequence of an “evil spirit” as religious preachers would want us to believe but a direct consequence of a capitalist system that forces more than 90% of the Nigerian population to live below a dollar per day and facilitates less than 5% of the Nigerian population, the billionaire-bosses, and the politicians to amass more than 85% of the Nigerian resources for themselves and their cronies in power.
Recent statistics released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics show that the “unemployment rate among young people (15-34years) was 34.9% up from 29.7% while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018.” Not only this; it was also reported by the NBS that unemployment has risen to 21, 764, 614, which averagely is 27. 1%. The highest in the last five years, this is the real pandemic that has been hitting Nigerian people, a direct consequence of capitalism, a profit-driven system that has led to the horrible death of people committing suicides and many more, who are attempting to kill themselves because of the economic frustration and depression they are passing through.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which led to several weeks of a shutdown of economic activities, has further worsened matters, deepening the economic crisis for many working-class families and young people, with the Buhari regime rubbing salt into the injury by increasing electricity tariff and the pump price of fuel to N160. This is an indication that the government does not have the interest of the working masses at heart. The MSA condemns these increases and calls for their immediate reversal.
The lack of adequate provision of social amenities and recreational/ art centres in the communities that will provide outlets for young people to keep themselves engaged is also another important factor that needs to be addressed.
CAUSES LEADING TO SUICIDE?
The rise of unemployment, loss of jobs, government anti-poor policies, and attack on the poor, etc, are major causes that are largely leading to suicide. A good example is a manner at which the Lagos State government uses Task Force to add to the difficulties of people especially traders. Many of the persons that have committed suicide, as recorded in Nigeria, has done so because of the economic pressure they faced. We call on the government to put in place the necessary equal level for all to freely and openly seek their livelihood without harassment from government officials and the police.
We are however certain that without a socialist-planned economy, democratically managed by workers and poor farmers’ government, that will nationalize the key sectors of the economy and free the resources of the country, for developing the means of production and meeting the needs of the working masses, poverty, inequality and the hard realities pushing people to commit suicide will continue.
JOIN US FOR A SOCIALIST CHANGE
To bring an end to the widening gap of inequality, between the billionaire club and the millions living below a dollar. We must get ourselves as working people organised, to challenge the neo-liberal policies of the fat-cats, take-all capitalist system, while we the oppressed people go hungry. It is only through organised campaigns with clear programmes can we be able to force the government to implement pro-mass programmes. However, if we don’t get organised, the capitalist politicians will continue to have their way to implement policies of privatization, deregulation, and commercialization of public sectors that have led to mass unemployment, poor under-funding of the health sector, the poor state of public education, epileptic power supply, etc. Indeed, there is no future in capitalism.
The leadership of NLC, TUC, and all pro-labour organisations must take up the responsibility of organizing the workers and oppressed against the wrath of the system of profit that continues to push some of the unemployed youth and the poor to choose suicide as an option and escape route out of the failed policies of the ruling elites.
The Movement for a Socialist Alternative, MSA, uses this day of World Suicide Prevention Day and the “March Against Suicide” initiated by the AJ HOUSE OF POETRY to call on writers, poets, literary enthusiasts, workers, and young people, to join MSA and the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and together collectively build a political platform of workers and the oppressed to liberate ourselves from the shackles of capitalism which is what is putting the lives of people, in choosing by committing suicide.
Issued by: The Movement for a Socialist Alternative (MSA)