Sun News examines the sad death of a village head who reportedly killed himself in Nasarawa State,
His thoughts were deep and indiscernible, but no one imagined he could end his sojourn on earth gruesomely in the twilight of his life. Sitting atop the traditional council of his community at age 85, he was seen as a fulfilled man plotting his path to a memorable and peaceful eternal rest.
But Yahaya Utra, the hitherto boisterous traditional head of Kwabe community in Wamba Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, had nursed a pain and sinister plan which he kept close to his chest. When he was eventually set to take a plunge, he left no clue or space for rescue.
In the early hours of Wednesday, February 24, the old man, who was hale and hearty, waited for members of his household to exit the mud-built palace for their daily activities before bolting the door to his room in readiness for a suicide mission. Then, he told a keg of a poisonous substance suspected to be agrochemical, and gulped the contents.
When his wife, Hadiza Yahaya returned home moments later, she was discomforted by a pin-drop silence that pervaded the air. Suddenly, frail groans filtered from her hubby’s room and the 50-year-old woman became motionless, consumed by fear.
“We have been married for about 30 years”, says Hadiza, as she narrated her shocking find to Saturday Sun. “Allah blessed our marriage with 11 children but three of them died while eight are alive. On that faithful day, l went somewhere and when l came back, the compound was silent. l wondered where Baba and others had gone. After a while, l heard a noise in Baba’s room with the door locked. I became afraid and sent for my son to come home quickly”.
It was an unusual call from his mum and Yahuza Yahaya, the eldest son in a family of 10, rushed home with the speed of lightning to behold a shocker after forcing open the door to the inner room of his father.
“I pushed the door open only to discover that he had consumed a chemical and his condition was so bad. We quickly looked for some means and rushed him to the General Hospital, Wamba, where he stayed for nine days. At a point, we thought he had recovered, but he died on Thursday, March 4.”
Yahuza says prior to the incident, the octogenarian never showed any sign of depression and left no suicide note. Curiously, within the nine days doctors battled at the hospital to save his life, he kept mute as his wife and children prodded him on why he opted to kill himself.
“He did not drop a written note neither did he talk to anybody on the reason for his action before he passed on. We asked him to tell us the reason for his action but he did not respond”, Yahuza lamented, describing the incident as a disgrace to the family.
Like her son, Hadiza is also at a loss on why her husband of over 30 years terminated his life in a bizarre manner.
“I don’t really know why he killed himself; l was not at home when this thing happened. But I appeal to the government to help us out of this quagmire,” she told Saturday Sun last week at Kwabe.
She has been in anguish since April last year when her third child, Usman Yahaya, killed himself after drinking a poisonous substance. Barely 11 months after, the patriarch also committed suicide, making the family the first in the history of the community to be befallen by such calamity.
However, in the case of Usman who had fathered a child and was aged 25, he allegedly took his life after he was accused of witchcraft by some youths in the community.
Yusuf Usman, the Madaki Kwabe, who is second in the hierarchy of the Kwabe traditional cabinet, said he was shocked that the Village Head committed suicide. Usman, who spoke through the Turaki Kwabe, Suleiman Hamidu, described the situation as sad.
“We the cabinet members of the community received the news of the death of our Village Head with surprise. We are pained by his death, especially the circumstances that led to this situation which had never happened in our community before. The cabinet members had no problem with him; our relationship was very cordial.
“We are all sad because it is a thing of surprise that a man of his position could die through this ugly way. It is only him that knew what prompted him to commit suicide; we don’t know the reason. Secondly, we are perplexed because this is happening less than a year that his son, who was accused of witchcraft, took his life after drinking a substance. It is sad,” he said in an interview with Saturday Sun.
Meanwhile, the Nasarawa State Police Command said a probe into the incident is ongoing. But as homicide detectives at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) deploy their skills to resolve the puzzle, mum is the word from the State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe.
“I will not speak on the issue now”, he told Saturday Sun on the telephone.