The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered the prosecution of a 54-year-old man for attempted suicide.
Akinlolu Ajayi attempted to jump off the Third Mainland Bridge into the lagoon last week, according to a statement by Lagos Command spokesperson, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu.
The anti-crime patrol team of the Bariga Police Division rescued him and took him into protective custody.
CP Odumosu appealed to members of the public not to take their own lives regardless of the challenges they’re facing, warning that the act is immoral and criminal.
“Such challenges are merely ephemeral,” he said.
He ordered that Ajayi’s family be contacted for necessary action, while the State Criminal Investigation Department investigates and prosecutes him.
Section 327 of the Criminal Code Act recommends one-year imprisonment for anyone found guilty of attempting to end their life.
Lagos State has amended its laws to review the punishment for attempted suicide from imprisonment to hospitalisation.
“Any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a simple offence and the court shall make a hospitalisation order,” reads Section 235 of the Criminal Law of Lagos.
Two years ago, Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, called on lawmakers to amend the laws to care for suicidal people, not punish them.
“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,” he said in a blog post.
Serious prosecution for attempted suicide is rare, and there’s no public record of anyone convicted for it yet, but health professionals have campaigned for the law criminalising the act to be completely removed.