Tragedy has befallen the home of a director in the employ of the Kogi State public service, Edward Soje (54). He committed suicide barely 10 days after his wife was delivered of a set of male triplets.
The couple had 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.
The Nation gathered on yesterday that Soje’s dangling body was discovered on a tree behind the mammy market at the Maigumeri Barracks, housing the Nigeria Army Command Record.
Soje, a Grade Level 16 officer in the Kogi State Teaching Service Commission (TSC) decided to take his life barely 10 days after his wife was delivered of a set of male triplets in a private hospital in Abuja.
Soje, who hailed from Ogori town in Ogori-Magongo local government of Kogi, was allegedly being owed 11 months’ salary arrears as at the time he took his own life.
He reportedly travelled to Abuja, leaving a suicide note for the wife who is said to be a federal civil servant, before committing suicide.
The suicide 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.”
Confirming the incident, the Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. William Aya said that the dangling body of Soje was found on a tree behind the barracks, around 5.55 pm on October 16.
Aya, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) said that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Area D Division received information about the incident from the military intelligence office in the barracks.
He said, “Police moved to the scene and removed the corpse to the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja. Investigation is on-going.”
According to the police, nothing was found on the man to help trace his address and family.
However, a search party organised by some relations and friends, led them to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), where his corpse was discovered at the morgue of the hospital on October 20.
Family sources said that Soje had been going through a tough patch occasioned by financial pressure and non-payment of his salary for 11 months.
He was said to have sold his car and a yet-to-be completed three-bedroom bungalow he was putting up at the Otokiti area of Lokoja.
The property, said a source, was sold at a give-away price of N1.5 million in April, to meet pressing family needs.
According to the source, Soje’s woes were compounded when the wife gave birth to a set of triplets through caesarean operation in a private hospital in Abuja on October 7.
He remained at the hospital looking after the wife and new born children till October 13, a day before their naming ceremony, when he returned to Lokoja.
On his return to Lokoja, Soje was said to have headed straight to his bank, where he withdrew the N30,000 balance in his account, and thereafter notified the bank in writing, of his decision to close the account.
He subsequently returned to the hospital in Abuja, and handed over the N30,000 to the wife. Soje and wife were joined by two clergymen and some relatives for a brief naming ceremony of the triplets in the hospital.
He later left the hospital with the excuse that he wanted to pick some things from the wife’s apartment in Abuja with a promise to come back quickly.
But for hours, he did not return and did not pick any of the many calls made to his telephone line, a development which forced the wife to send somebody to the house to go and ascertain what was happening to him.
The person, on getting to the apartment knocked the door severally but got no response and thereafter called his telephone number. On hearing the telephone ring out from the apartment, he was said to have knocked severally again but no response, which made him seek the help of neighbours to force open the door.
On entering the apartment, they saw Soje’s mobile handset placed on a suicide note on the centre table in the sitting room, while he was nowhere to be found.
When the wife was informed, she quickly contacted people for a search for him in Abuja while relations and friends in Lokoja were also informed of the development.
Efforts made to locate him did not yield result until relations decided to visit hospitals in Lokoja, where the corpse of Soje was found in the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja on Friday, October 20.
A family member said that the management of the hospital explained to them that Soje’s corpse was brought in by the police who found it dangling on a tree. He described the late Soje as a very quiet and lovable human being.
He said that some members of the family have been sent to Abuja to break the news to the wife.