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Feature Article | Apr 6, 2019

Nsuta Teen Suicide May Be More Complicated Than the Media Is Letting On

I would not say that it is impossible for a pregnant 13-year-old Ghanaian sixth-grader to commit suicide, as several news reports claim (See “No Foul Play Suspected As Girl Hangs Herself” Modernghana.com 3/31/19). But psychologists and criminal investigations experts need to further probe the sociocultural circumstances under which the deceased pregnant teenager allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself on a tree at Nsuta, in the Mampong District of the Asante Region. As well, the manner in which Ms. Abigail Akrugu met her death, by hanging on a cashew tree closely behind the directorate of a health office building, ought to raise suspicions in the minds of both health authorities and criminal investigations experts of the Ghana Police Service (GPS).

For instance, we as yet do not know whether the parents of the alleged suicide victim – for the deceased was clearly a victim – were aware of her pregnancy; and if so, what their reaction and treatment of the young woman had been from her parents. Knowing her parents’ reaction, as well as the general reaction of the members of the local community, would provide us with some clues and insights that may very well enable us, as a nation, to prevent the possibility of any such tragic occurrence in the offing. Indeed, it is quite clear that the decision to commit suicide, at any particular age, is not one that can be taken lightly. The young woman must have felt unbearably antagonized, unloved and unwelcome and unwanted by both her immediate family members, relatives and the community at large.

It is also more common for teenage girls at this age, that is, just arrived on the threshold of puberty, to attempt to take their own lives via drug overdose, rather than by hanging themselves on a tree, which is far more excruciatingly painful and difficult to undertake. I also don’t suppose that mere autopsy would have unearthed the fact of whether Ms. Akrugu was aided in her decision to commit suicide by hanging or was even strangled in a suicide-like manner, unless some DNA tests had been conducted on her remains. This becomes even more imperative, in view of the fact that we are also not told by Nana Boaten, the reporter of the afore-referenced news article, what manner of “preliminary investigation” had been conducted by personnel of the Nsuta police, after which the latter decided to rule out the possibility of any foul play.

As of this writing, the deceased had reportedly been buried, barely a week after she had allegedly committed suicide. Now, such hurried burial ought to raise some eyebrows, especially since we are also told that Ms. Akrugu had attempted to take an abortifacient or abortion-inducing drug but without success. If so, then why had the deceased also not attempted to ingest an overdose of even some over-the-counter drugs and had instead chosen the rather more excruciatingly painful and decidedly crude method of hanging herself by the use of a hangman’s noose, as it were? for instance, did police investigators examine the manner in which the noose by which the deceased took her own life had been rigged up on the cashew tree which, by the way, is quite a humongous tree? And was the identity of the male figure who had impregnated Ms. Akrugu known? And if yes, the father of the unborn child was known, what was the nature of the dialogue or conversation that had transpired between the expectant mother and soon-to-be father of the unborn child? As well, the understanding or lack thereof between the father of the unborn child and the parents of the pregnant teenager?

How old was Ms. Akrugu’s pregnancy? In other words, there are quite a considerable lot of questions demanding answers that ought to raise suspicions in the minds of police investigators, including the fact of whether the unnamed father of Ms. Akrugu and husband of Madam Felicia Lasibine, the mother of the deceased, may have had anything directly or indirectly to do with Mr. Akrugu’s pregnancy. Was the unnamed father of Ms. Akrugu, whose alleged reprimand of the deceased for staying too long in a neighbor’s house, watching TV with one of her younger siblings, which had apparently provoked Ms. Akrugu to take her own life, the biological father or parent of the deceased?

I particularly ask the latter question because we are merely informed that Madam Lasibine, the late Ms. Akrugu’s mother, has six children, namely, two girls and four boys, with absolutely no attempt by the reporter to link the identities of these six children to any male father figure. I have my own serious suspicions and doubts here, especially coming as it does at a time and an era in Ghanaian society when quite a slew of apparently contracted murders and assassinations of some prominent politicians and public figures continue to lack or beg for definitive answers from both police investigators and the courts trying some of the forensically well-established criminal suspects.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
March 31, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2019

This author has authored 4471 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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