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Michael Arowosaiye: RCCG disowns worship leader who committed suicide

A talented worship leader who reportedly used to lead the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) members and pastors into the presence of God has allegedly taken his own life.

After years of frustration with economic instability, and following the church’s reported refusal to help out, Michael Arowosaiye allegedly committed suicide around 4pm on Tuesday, May 14 at Sunnyvale Estate, Lokogoma District, Abuja.

FCT police spokesperson Gajere Danjuma confirmed the tragic incident.

Reports say the former RCCG vocal champion became depressed because he was unable to pay his house rent. He, according to reports, contacted RCCG leadership who ignored him till he pulled the plug on his own life.

This was Michael Arowosaiye’s church life. But his closet reality was a depressing one.

RCCG spokesperson Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi commiserated with Arowosaiye’s family, but also defended the church by saying the deceased had left RCCG before committing suicide.

“For us as human beings, it is painful that somebody has committed suicide,” Punch quoted Olubiyi to have said.

“So, it is not right to begin to say whether he was with us or not. So, we to first sympathise with the family.

“The report we have is that he used to be one of the singers in one of our parishes in Abuja.

“He left the church a while ago to join the Shepherdhill Ministry, where he became their choirmaster.

“So, as of this time, we cannot say that he was our member.

“Secondly, if he were our member, there is a tradition in RCCG whereby every parish attempts to assist every member under stress.

“So, if he were our member or minister and had some challenges, he could have approached his pastors,” the RCCG mouthpiece said.

Arowosaiye’s case is the latest tragedy as Nigeria’s youth suicide rate swells.

According to social entrepreneur Zainab Haruna, “as at 2018, Nigeria was Number Five in global suicide rates with 15 suicides per 100,000 people”

“Major distribution of suicides per gender is male and per demography is youth. Basically, a lot of young men are committing suicides in Nigeria.

“Mental health is a big part of it. We are ill equipped to handle mental health issues in Nigeria and organisations like Mentally Aware NG are doing a lot to change the discussion around health issues.

“But studies have also shown that during economic downturns, suicide rates increase.

“It is therefore not surprising that suicide rates in Nigeria were up so high last year when we were in a recession. In 2016, we were Number 17 but by 2018, we were at Number Five.

“And reports from certain quarters are showing we’ll be heading back into another recession soon.

“The implications are alarming. More lost jobs, more people thrown into poverty, more despondence, more criminality, more suicides.

Michael Arowosaiye: How the Nigerian government responding to youth suicide?

“There are likely other causes for suicides as well of course. It will not be just a case of only two drivers. I am yet to find a socio-economic issue that had only one driver.

“As we unplug the issues, one thing is clear to me, there is not one single solution.

“To address the issue of suicide holistically, we will have to combine pushing mental health awareness campaigns, and the government needs to step up and improve the country’s economic conditions.

“For now, avoid lecturing people who are contemplating suicide. Refer them to professionals instead.

“And may God save this country,” Haruna wrote in a Facebook post.

The Nigerian government, which runs a national orientation agency, is yet to comment on the growing suicide rate.

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