A part-time student of Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu Campus, Joseph Mayowa, Friday killed himself after a misunderstanding between him and his girlfriend, Olokodana Bolaji.
Police authorities said Mayowa drank a poisonous chemical identified as Sniper and was rushed to hospital by his neighbours following an alarm raised by his girlfriend, but eventually died.
The deceased’s girlfriend told the police that she dated Mayowa “dated for nine years” and that Mayowa beat on several occasions.
“That while she was with the deceased in his room, they had a quarrel and he as usual, resorted into physical violence,” Lagos State spokesman Bala Elkana said in a statement.
“That she ran into the restroom and upon return she found him gasping for breath with an empty bottle of sniper beside him,” Elkana added.
The police spokesman said, “investigation is ongoing to determine whether it was actually a suicide case or murder.”
At least five Nigerians have committed suicide in the last one month.
Attempting suicide is a criminal offence in Nigeria under Section 327 of the Criminal Code Act, and it carries a penalty of up to one year in prison.
According to Section 326 of the criminal code, a person will be charged with a felony and liable to life imprisonment if she or he aids, counsels, procures another person to kill himself.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 9.5 suicides per 100,000 people in Nigeria.
Some common causes are depression and anxiety linked to high levels of poverty.
A 2017 WHO report found that Nigerians have the highest incidences of depression in Africa, with around 7,079,815 suffering from depression, a figure that represents 3.9% of the population.