Feb 17, 2018 – Epileptic Nigerian Boy Bullied By Friends Commits Suicide By Drinking Hypo Bleach In Ondo
The sad news Matthew Gbodi, a 16-year-old who committed suicide last week in his family home at B13 Egikun Street, Ogbagi Akoko, Ondo State, is still generating ripples across the community.
Gbodi, a talented local musician, was the community’s rising star with an ironic twist to his life. He suffered from epilepsy, a neurological disorder, which turned out to be a flaw that sullied his fame. Each time he suffered a seizure, he found himself fallen from the pedestal of celebrity into the dust, becoming the laughing stock of his peers.
What was more painful, over a period of time, his peers turned him to their object of jesting, bullying him needlessly, so much so that for the few years of his earthly sojourn, his life oscillated between fame and infamy.
The resultant disgrace forced the miserable teenager to seek help desperately for his incurable seizure disorder and the futility thereof pushed him to the brink until he was overwhelmed by frustration. When he decided to bail out of life, he swallowed a large volume of Hypo, a popular hypochloric agent used for bleaching.
A life of long Frustration
In retrospect, Gbodi’s suicide was not an impetuous act. A reconstruction of the incident reveals a tragic action weighed over a period of time and also planned in advance.
A day earlier, he had spoken at length with his pastor seeking to know God’s view of suicide. The clergy, who was none the wiser about the teenager’s intention, had instructed him about the scripture’s strict injunction against and the damnation that awaits anyone who takes a life, not less his own.
In the days leading to his suicide, Gbodi had complained severally to his parents, specifically lamenting how his peers had reduced him to the butt of jokes and the unpalatable innuendos hurled at him at social gatherings.
He had in no uncertain terms told his mother: “My patience and devotion to my religion as a Christian had taken me to this level. The motivation that drives me to soldier on is declining by the day. My mates have tasked my patience. I am tired of everything. I did not create myself. I grew up to see that I have been suffering from epilepsy. I have repeatedly heard people close to me saying this affliction does not exist in our family. The implication is that I am from a different family.”
His mother, Madam Alice, who confirmed the above statement to Saturday Sun, added: “The day Matthew died is the saddest day of my life. His death was a shock to me. He told me his desire to be a musician. I told him his sickness may be a handicap and I had suggested other vocations, but he would not budge.”
According to her, the day started as normal as any other day; neither a dream nor a sign to warn Madame Alice of an impending disaster. “He woke up in the morning to greet me. We laughed and exchanged banters. Little did I know that he was harbouring a sinister motive,” she recounted. “I went to the farm and returned to behold a crowd at our house. They were highly hysterical. Initially, I thought some boys were fighting until someone told me Matthew had taken his life by drinking Hypo solution. By that time he was dead. He had foam in his mouth and empty sachets of Hypo were all over the place.”
A shattered Madam Alice asked rhetorically, “What would I do other than leaving everything in the hands of God?”
A source in the family claimed the deceased also complained to his father, who pleaded with him to take life easy.
His father, Jejo Gbodi told Saturday Sun: “I never thought Matthew could go to such extreme as taking his own life. He had complained to me and, each time, I pacified him as a father. We tried our best to assist him in our own little way as parents. We took him to pastors and they prayed for him. We had also visited one herbalist after another without a respite coming his way.”
Amidst tears, the distraught father recounted the last testament of his late son:
“The boy talked about people bullying him, calling him names. He said no teenager could stomach what he had been enduring. He told me of how he had been taunted, of the rejection by his brothers and sisters, how he was regarded as not belonging to the family which made him sad, and because of this, he had severally confined himself to his mother’s room to avoid shame.”
Jejo Gbodi also recalled his last interaction with his son a day before he took his life. “He had come to me saying that he was sad and tired of life. I brought him to my room to talk to him and we spent close to an hour together. I counselled him.”
Gbodi who regarded his deceased son as one of his favourite children because “he was very gentle and not a troublesome one,” said he was disappointed by his suicide.
The late Matthew Gbodi’s allegation of being ostracized by his siblings baffled his eldest brother, Dada Gbodi. “His complaint had always been that his family members never loved him because of his condition. [But] I had counselled him most of the time,” he said.