A final year student of the University of Nigeria known as Chukwuemeka Akachi took his life yesterday by consuming a large quantity of petrol. Chukwuemeka who was a prolific writer had been dropping suicide hints since the beginning of the year on Facebook.
He made it a point of duty to share every post of suicide, praising the victim for having such courage to do that. As a creative, he was always publishing suicide posts on his social media handle, using fiction as a cover-up, but his followers and friends marveled at his creativity not knowing that he was in a dark place.
Sometime in March, his short story ‘Sixteen Notes on how to end a Life’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Chronicles Short Fiction Prize. Asides from this, he has been praised for his literary prowess by literary legends. Chukuemeka was a member of The Muse Journal, the oldest literary Journal in West Africa where he served as an Editor; he also organized spoken words events and literary contests for the platform before his death.
Taking a closer look at his short story ‘Sixteen Notes on how to end a life,’ it is essential to note that he took his life as accurately as he described in the short story. In number 13, he wrote: ‘Today I came home with a belly drenched in liters of petrol I forced down my throat. This story will never end, but it does have a beginning.’ According to reports, this is not his first-time attempting suicide. He tried it before by drinking Kerosene and it didn’t work out.
Social media especially the writer’s community where Chukwuemeka was an active member are mourning him. While most users blame themselves for not reaching out even when it was glaring that he needed help, others blame him for taking his life.
In his second to the last post on Facebook, he talked about his struggle with mental health; he wrote:
‘My mental health has been on life support for a while now. Thanks to those who call. Text. Visit. Speak to me. May we always remember. May we never forget. You may have added a few hours, months or days to my time here. But you know life support is expensive, right? Thanks for trying. Amen.’
On the 13th of May which was yesterday, he published his suicide note.
‘Forgive me. In case you are the one who found the body. I am sorry. It had to be someone you know. I have chosen Nketaih’s poem as my suicide note; “They said you came looking for me. I didn’t drown; I was the water.” Where do atheists go when they die?’
Chukwuemeka who identified as an atheist was found unconscious in his room after consuming a large quantity of fuel. He was rushed to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, but he didn’t make it. His younger brother, a student of Mass Communication almost jumped down a building when he heard the sad news, but thankfully, people saw him. May God console his family.