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Sniper Strikes Again 2 Weeks After Ban

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Barely two weeks after the federal government restricted the sale of Sniper pesticide nationwide over its persistence use by Nigerians to commit suicide, a man, Mr. Adeyemo Isaac, has committed suicide upending the rebranded product nicknamed ‘’Sniper Crawling Insect Killer’’ down his bowel.

For Sniper related suicide, Isaac was not the first victim. In fact, a few weeks before his, besides scores of unreported cases, swarms of suicide-by-Sniper cases had set the media abuzz which led to the restriction of the sale of the product.

LEADERSHIP gathered that since Sniper hits the Nigerian market, it has become the favourite of most Nigerians, especially the poor for killing mosquitoes and other pests.

More so, the product has found its way into the hands of youths, who have continued to use it to commit suicide.

Several Nigerian youths have committed suicide at the least provocation including failure in examinations, family pressure, jilt  by loved ones. Sadly, Sniper, which is an insecticide, seems to be serving another purpose, despite its rebranding.

It is against this background that the federal government directed that the product be withdrawn from the open market with immediate effect recently.

The government’s directive on the restriction of the fatal product is to be enforced by the National Food, Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC).

By the order, the agency will ensure that all agro-chemical dealers and other stakeholders remove Sniper from both the open market and supermarkets across the country with immediate effect.

Isaac, 34, committed the suicide at his apartment at Abacha Road by Zamani Street, MararabaNasarawa State near the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on 1st July, 2019.

LEADERSHIP Weekend visited his home, residents who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described Isaac as a very religious person, whose character was not in doubt.

They alleged that the evening he committed the suicide Isaac was drunk and was acting irrationally. They added that he keeps going and coming and making phone calls.

His neigbours also alleged that he texts his fiancé who they easily identified as ‘’Mimi’’ that he wants to take his life. Unfortunately, she could not come before he committed the act.

Isaac who hailed from Osun State, in his suicide note cited by men of the Nigeria Police Force attached to Divisional Headquarters ‘’B’’ Division, SaniAbacha Road, Mararaba told his family members to sell his properties to convey his corpse to his village.

The family was also told them to sell Isaac’s blue Toyota Corolla LE car to clear all his debts including church funds in his coffers.

The latest Sniper pesticide used by Isaac comes in 300ml aluminum container spray, distributed by a Nigerian firm, LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered from the police.

It was also learnt that the product was sold to the deceased for N800 from a cosmetics shop.

The victim allegedly killed himself over a failed relationship with Mimi.

A microbiologist, Michael Okeke, said that Sniper is an agro-cultural product meant for use only in the farms and not for households but, sadly Nigerians have turned it to the easiest way to escape the harsh realities of life.

Okeke said that Sniper, is a DDVP, 2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate compound, marketed in Nigeria by Swiss-Nigerian Chemical Company, as a synthetic organophosphorus but which many Nigerians have converted to an indoor insecticide.

Many cases of suicides reported in recent months are carried out through the use of the substance. Some are unreported.

He said the first thing that comes to people’s mind when the thought of suicide comes is Sniper.

“There are appropriate products for the control of mosquitoes and other household pests,” he said.

‘’The latest brand of the pesticide been brand as ’Sniper Crawling Insect Killer’’ has the potentials of taking the life of users,’’ he said.

The lethargy of the authorities in observing this and the easy access many have to this substance is creating anxiety in some quarters.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), it estimated that the method used for 20 per cent of global suicides was through pesticide self-poisoning, “most of which occurred in rural agricultural areas in low- and middle-income countries”. It is cheap suicide legal drug available in the market.

A respondent HassanaAbdullahi called for an outright ban on the product but a restriction of its use and availability to farms alone, adding that all agro-chemicals meant for farms should not be used in households.

The national president, Cowpea and Beans Farmers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, ShituKabir also urged the ban of Sniper due to the danger it poses to human lives.

Kabiru, who made the call in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, reacted to the federal government’s directive for stricter measures to curtail the use of Sniper.

It would be recalled that, Aisha Omolola, a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, late last year committed suicide. Aisha’s suicide sparked a lot of controversies on the social media, due to the mystery attached to it. She also dropped a suicide note.

Young Aisha had someone to blame for her action: her parents, especially her mother who she said “made life a living hell” for her and considered her the “witch” responsible for the family’s predicaments. “I hope and believe that now that I am gone, it will bring them relief and happiness,” she wrote in her death note.

A week after Aisha’s death, a disk jockey in Lagos, SeunOmogaji, popularly known as DJ XGee, took the Sniper insecticide, after an alleged unresolved marital crisis with his wife. Ironically, he reportedly performed at a New Year party on the eve of his suicide. Yet, to the perplexity of his fans on the social media, DJ XGee would post a cryptic death note on his Instagram page some hours after, asking them to “please rock white (to his funerals) because (he) loves the colour so much.”

Also, Isaac Jasper of the  Boro College of Education then in his final year, had a “little misunderstanding with his girlfriend” which made him acquire a bottle of Sniper on a suicide mission.

This incident occurred barely two months after Aduba Daniel, a student of Niger Delta University, drank a full bottle of Sniper “because of his carryovers at school” — which instantly damaged important parts of his intestines.

Having spent five years studying Pharmacy at the Delta State University, Abraka, OrumahEfemenah, was visited by his father who had come to scold him for not performing well in his grades much unlike his younger ones. It seemed this didn’t meet Orumah well, so that he decided to end it all, washing down his frustration with two bottles of Sniper.

News also broke of a secondary school girl in Warri, Delta State, Slimzy Jay, who drank Sniper because her boyfriend broke up with her.

The trauma of being pregnant at such a young age was what allegedly led to her suicide action.

ChukwuemekaAkachi, a 400-level student of the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), allegedly drank two bottles of Sniper insecticide leading to his death on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

Friends said the late Akachi had a long battle with depression before his death.

Similarly, a young man identified as Segun, also consumed a bottle of the harmful substance live on social media after getting a low score in the recently released university entry examination.

The director, Public Affairs, NAFDAC, AbubakarJimoh,  said that  “the word ban is just a restriction.  It will take time for it to phase out. So, our people are on it and we are doing it quietly without causing panic.

“There is a process of recall. We are working closely with the distributors; they have the channel of distribution.  That us what we are trying to do,” he said.

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