Tears flowed freely in the home of a middle aged engineer with the Bayelsa State Water Board, Peter Ogiero, who committed suicide by taking a popular insecticide ‘Sniper’ over unpaid 13 months salaries by the state government.
Ogiero took his life on Tuesday after waiting in vain for 13 months without salary and without a kobo to take care of his family and his failing health, as government failed to meet its financial obligations to the board’s employees.
It was gathered that the deceased, a father of four, whose only means of livelihood was his salary, succumbed to frustration after he was diagnosed to be hypertensive. He had a stroke about one year ago when he found it extremely difficult to care for himself, let alone his wife and four children.
A neighbor, who was seen wailing uncontrollably, told National Mirror correspondents that in the midst of the man’s travail, his second wife (who he married after the death of his first wife) abandoned him and left for their village along with three of their children.
The only child, a teenager, that stayed with Ogiero in his state of penury and anguish, who was simply identified as Wilson, depended on charity for survival, as his mother was said to have died before Ogiero married his second wife.
When National Mirror visited the home of the deceased at Okaka in Yenagoa metropolis, relatives and neighbours have removed his remains while some were still wailing uncontrollably and crying their eyes out.
Some of the mourners who managed to talk amidst tears narrated how the man and his family lived in penury and how he committed suicide out of frustration.
A niece of the deceased, who gave her name only as Tina, said the deceased had been suffering from stroke for over 12 months.
Said Tina, “The stroke was caused by too much brooding due to the fact that the state government has been owing him salaries for 13 months. This state of affairs has caused a lot of issues in the deceased’s home. At a point, when his wife could no longer bear the situation, she had to run away from home with his three children to their village.
“Wilson and I were staying somewhere else before. We only came on the directive of the family to take care of him when it was discovered that his second wife, who was living with him, abandoned him in his trying times. That was how Wilson and I came to Yenagoa to take care of him. We least expected that he was going to die just like that.”
Narrating how Ogiero was living when he was alive amid sobs, Tina said the situation was so awful and precarious that the deceased found it extremely difficult to get money to buy drugs recommended by doctors.
She added, “We hoped upon hope that the situation would ameliorate and that the government would pay him the salary they owed him but all to no avail.
“When salary did not come, we tried to manage with the little money given to us by the deceased’s sister, uncle and sometimes by his colleagues. But this did not suffice as it was not coming regularly. So, at a point, we found it really hard to buy him drugs and food sometime.”
She said as they were hoping that things would get better someday, they had no inkling that the deceased had his own plans – to free himself from the frustration he was enmeshed in.