Amidst the high spate of depression and suicide in Nigeria, a humanitarian initiative tagged, Widows Empowerment Project in collaboration with a UK –based Volunteer organization- Making Noise Group, recently organized a Walk against Depression and Suicide in Ikeja, Lagos-Nigeria, to lend their voices to these social malaise that is plaguing our society.
Recent statistics estimate that over 60 million Nigerians are prone to depression. This is extremely worrisome, especially against the background that many cases of suicide recently have been linked to depression and mental illness. There is an urgent need to stem this dangerous tide. According to Apostle Azemobor Gregory, the convener of the widows Empowerment Project, “ The major cause of depression and consequent suicide amongst other factors, is extreme poverty. When people have no means of basic sustenance, they lose their sense of self-worth and enthusiasm for living. They become prone to depression and may attempt to take their lives”
Speaking further, Azemobor said, “Another reason why people become depressed is because there is nobody to share their pains and burden with. We live in a society where most people are selfish and self-centred. No love amongst us. If you have a serious medical challenge for example that requires huge money to pay the hospital bill and you are poor, chances are that you could die, because the government hospitals are not free and greedy individuals are not ready to help. How many times have you seen a public campaign on television to raise as little as one million naira to save somebody’s life, and it could run for months without realizing the fund? So sad! I would recommend , that to reduce depression and suicide in Nigeria, the government should as a matter of urgency, develop a robust social security system to cater for the poor and the vulnerable. Religious organizations should also do more to entrench the culture of love as the main focus of their ecclesiastical activities”
“Our widows’ empowerment activities within the last one year has also brought us in contact with the sufferings and agony that many poor widows and indigent mothers pass through, and many of them die due to depression unnoticed by society.
Mr. Theo Ogbhemhe speaking on behalf of the Making Noise Group based in Orkney-Scotland, who came to Nigeria to participate in the event and also execute numerous social support projects for schools and communities, said “ We are a volunteer group in United Kingdom, campaigning against mental illness and suicide and encouraging young people to speak up. We also have cases of depression and suicide in our country but the factors responsible are different from what is obtainable in Nigeria. We are here to support this initiative put together by the Widow Empowerment Project because it aligns with our activities in the UK”. The other members of the group include, Frankie Gauld, Anna Mackay, Liam Flannigan.
The Widows Empowerment Project is an Initiative of Voice of Divine Truth International Outreach, a non- profit humanitarian organization based in Lagos, Nigeria . The rally had in attendance volunteers and members of the organization who walked along Obafemi Awolowo Way , Ikeja to sensitize the public on the need to support individuals who are passing through depressive moments.