Despite the claim of the ruling party that Nigerians are better off under the APC government, a director in the employ of the Kogi State public service, Edward Soje (54), who was owed 11 months salaries by Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration, has committed suicide barely 10 days after his wife was delivered of a set of male triplets.
The couple are said to have been childless in their over 17 years of marriage.
Soje, a director with the Kogi State civil service, reportedly hung himself with rope on a tree in Lokoja, the state capital.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY undertands that Soje’s dangling body was discovered on a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri Barracks, housing the Nigeria Army Command Record.
The deceased was a Grade Level 16 officer in the Kogi State Teaching Service Commission (TSC).
He took his life 10 days after his wife was delivered of a set of male triplets in a private hospital in Abuja.
He had reportedly travelled to Abuja, leaving a suicide note for the wife who is said to be a federal civil servant, before committing suicide.
The note read, “Psalm 121:3: God will not suffer your foot to be moved: He that keepeth you will not slumber. Amen. You and the three boys, God Almighty keep you and make you prosperous. Amen. I love you.”
The Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. William Aya confirmed the tradegy and said that the dangling body of Soje was found on a tree behind the barracks, around 5.55 pm on October 16.
He hailed from Ogori town in Ogori -Magongo Local Government area of the state.
Aya said that the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Area D Division received information about the incident from the military intelligence office in the barracks.
Family sources said Soje had before the incident, had been faced with immense financial pressure due to non-payment of his salary for 11 months by the Kogi State APC Government.
Thousands of civil servants are being owed between two and 21 months’ salary arrears by the state government.
To stay afloat, Soje was said to have sold his only car and a three-bedroom bungalow he was building at Otokiti area of Lokoja.
The building which was at lintel level was sold by a desperate Soje at a giveaway price of N1.5 million in April to meet urgent family needs, sources said
However, they said that tha man’s financial troubles skyrocketed when his wife gave birth to a set of triplets through Caesarian operation in a private hospital in Abuja on Oct. 7.
After that, Soje stayed back in the hospital to look after his wife and children until Oct. 13, a day before the naming ceremony when he returned to Lokoja.
Once in Lokoja, Soje was said to have gone immediately to his bank to collect the remaining N30,000 in his salary account with one of the commercial banks. He also closed the account on the spot.
From there he went straight back to Abuja – for the hospital in Abuja where he rejoined his wife and handed her the N30,000.
After the naming ceremony on Oct. 14, attended by two pastors and some relatives at the hospital, a troubled Soje left, saying that he wanted to pick few things from the wife’s apartment in Abuja with a promise to come back quickly.
That was the last his wife saw him. Few days later his lifeless body was found dangling from a a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri Barracks, Lokoja.
A member of the family, who did not want his name in print, described the late Soje as a “very quiet and lovable human being. “
Despite collecting billions of Naira under the cloak of bailout funds, released to pay workers, civil servants are owed many months of salary arrears in many states in Nigeria.
Due to severe hard times, triggered by bad governance, suicide has now become a Nigerian thing. On Friday, another Nigerian jumped to his death from the Ikoyi-Lekki bridge in Lagos.