In a fresh report trending on the internet, a Nigerian correctional officer has died by suicide after being denied promotion for three consecutive times marking yet another case that adds urgency to growing injustice within the Nigerian Correctional Service.
Alfred Bassa, an assistant superintendent of prisons, wrote promotional examinations three times, passed three times and suffered denial from correctional authorities three times, the Gazette learnt from three sources, including a senior colleague, knowledgeable about the incident.
“He decided to end the nightmare by taking his own life,” one of his senior colleagues told the Gazette under anonymity for fear of any reprimand because he was not an authorised correctional spokesperson.
Mr. Bassa, 28, brought a Sniper bottle with him when he arrived at work at the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Keffi, drinking the lethal pesticide in his uniform, sources said.
Colleagues said Mr. Bassa did not appear to suffer from any mental health crises before the incident.
Sniper has been banned in Nigeria because of its frequent use for suicide, but the product has remained in circulation. Suicide prevention centres are rare in the country, and the only reachable one in Lagos has cut its response hours due to the pandemic.
The tragedy on October 2 sent the entire facility into panic, and prison authorities in Abuja swiftly moved in to hush it, sources said.
His demise came as the correctional service was promoting officers to new ranks. The approvals were communicated last week to affected officers, which did not include Mr. Bassa, an official said.
Mr. Bassa was scheduled to get married to his long-time sweetheart on November 19, 2020, when the humiliation of being denied promotion for the third time became too much for him to absorb.
“He has watched as his contemporaries were being selectively promoted, including some who did not even pass promotional examinations,” he said.