A humanitarian Oyinade Samuel-Eluwole has advocated the establishment of a ministry for Men Affairs to tackle issues relating to men, particularly, the menace of suicide among male folks.
In a speech to commemorate the 2023 International Men’s Day in Nigeria, the founder Elizabethan Humanitarian Life Foundation reiterated that it was high time the federal government set up the ministry to rescue men.
Mrs Samuel-Oyewole said, ” Suicide is a global problem but it is worrisome to have Nigeria as one epicentre of suicide in the world and the majority of reported cases are males.
The foundation decried the frightening suicide statistics, adding that reports indicated that suicide incidents in Nigeria are 80.6% males, and out of this, 51.8% are married while 33.6% are students.
Getting appropriate data, according to her, is a challenge in Nigeria but we have to tackle this menace collectively to avoid losing our men to suicide.
“The major causes are not far-fetched: they are mainly financial lack and challenges, societal expectations, and marital conflicts as precipitating factors. You can see the need to allow males to express themselves and speak. This intervention and medium is what the Elizabethan Humanitarian Foundation stands for.”
She outlined far-reaching approaches aimed at tackling the menace, starting from the grassroots, to society and the world at large.
She said with the grassroots model, the foundation intends to ”talk and listen to their hearts, encourage them, and give them hope. Be a bridge between them and individuals, organisations, and governmental agencies”
” We intend to work with the Ministry of Education, Information and Strategy, Health, Interior, Youth and Sports, Justice, and Humanitarian Affairs
”Part of the experiences we gained at the outreach is the data we generated from our survey of the differentials between the male gender and female gender in terms of the level of social needs of the male gender compared to the female gender. We were also able to underscore the fundamental challenges the males face from the point of grassroots knowledge beyond some esoteric assertions of the issues that are not based on facts.
“We are still collating the figures and as soon as we finish with the data collation and analysis we will share them with the public. But, in the interim, we are aware based on our on-the-ground assessment that we are losing lots of our youths, especially the males, to drugs.
“We also noticed that the lack of financial capabilities of parents has made them let their children go to the streets. By our estimation, based on our interaction with the youths on the streets where we visited, eight out of ten of the youths are willing to leave the streets, go back to school, and are ready to learn trades, handwork, or technical jobs.
”A high percentage of them opened up to us that they were ready to move out of the streets if the opportunity comes. A lot of them clamour for free education because many are out of school, mostly because of school fees – even as low as five thousand naira only.
Sharing her experience on the level of acceptance from the society on the rescue mission, Mrs Samuel-Oluwole said” the acceptance has been very encouraging from all quarters. It is a known fact that the male gender needs help, and they are prepared to talk about it at this rate.
The acceptance level is expected because parents are losing their children not only to the streets but a lot who are still with their parents are already disconnected. While wives are losing their homes. So the overall picture is like at last, help has come. People move so fast to ask questions on what to expect and are ready to express themselves.
“Like every other venture, you don’t expect a new initiative to flow or flourish without initial teething problems and challenges. But, despite all these, we are still trudging on. We embarked on a self-sponsored opinion survey of males in our society and came to the understanding of what the male gender in our society goes through – from cradle to adulthood. We realised that the challenges are enormous.
“We also realised that to accomplish our goal we will need to partner and to collaborate with other bodies and organisations who are in similar advocacy terrain such as we do. They may not necessarily focus on the male gender as we do, but they are obviously fighting for the well-being of people in our society.