A thirteen-year-old girl Precious Iwezoa has allegedly hanged herself in Benin City, Edo State, throwing her family into mourning.
A neigbour found Precious – who lived with her grandmother at No. 6 Osagie Street, Off Lucky Way Road, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area – dead in their compound and immediately alerted her family about the incident.
“Around 12, that was when I entered the house after church service. Immediately I opened the gate, I sighted her dead body and the rope. I did not know what exactly happened,” the neighbor, Peace Uwadia explained.
“I was shocked and immediately raised the alarm to alert the grandmother because I knew she would be the only one in the house.”
The teenager had been living with her paternal grandmother since 2017. Janet Ohioma – the grandmother narrated that Precious had earlier helped her to heat her food and later sat in the living room watching the television.
When Uwadia raised the alarm, Mrs Ohioma did not expect to see a lifeless Precious.
“I thought Precious had run away away from home as she had done before but was found by a neighbor. When I got to where Precious was, I fell,” the devastated woman told Channels Television.
‘No Foul Play’
Officers from the Edo State Police Command who visited the scene assured that the incident will be investigated but ruled out foul play.
“The police has removed the body and deposited for preservation at our clinic at Ikpoba Hill while investigation is on to unravel the cause of her hanging herself,” police spokesman Edo State Command, Bello Kontongs, said of Precious who lost her mother at two.
“It is said for me reporting that a thirteen-year-old who has not even started life, is hanging herself for reasons only known to her because there was no suicide note and observing the body, for now, I can said there was no foul play. She actually hanged herself.”
A Borderless Crisis
UNICEF and the World Health Organization had in 2019 raised concerns over the rising rates of self-harm, suicide and anxiety among children and young people across the globe.
The agencies said suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds worldwide. Around 15 per cent of adolescents in low-and middle-income countries have considered suicide, they added.
“Too many children and young people, rich and poor alike, in all four corners of the world, are experiencing mental health conditions,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “This looming crisis has no borders or boundaries.
“With half of mental disorders starting before age 14, we need urgent and innovative strategies to prevent, detect and, if needed, treat them at an early age.”