No its not true. Yoruba people are education freaks, so suicide would defeat that purpose.
Thanks Knowledge Seed,
Actually I am writing a novel which begins with a young woman who is kidnapped from Egba (not to be confused with Egbe Omo) sometime between 1804 and 1808. In the course of the novel she must do some kind of spiritual work to assis t the spirit of a pregnant woman who jumped shi[ rather than be taken into slavery. That's how I found out about Egne Omo and ritual suicide.
I still need to know what kind of rituals assist those whose spirits were troubled when they died.
I am a huge fan of literature that has been based on African traditions/history, and would love to read this novel when it is published; that brief synopsis sounds interesting!
In answer to your initial question, made an attempt to find an answer and this is the best that I could come up with;
"Thus, put on board slave ships many West Africans attempted suicide, as Thomas Phillips of the Hannibal explained, because "tis their belief that when they die they return to their own country and friends."39 Under New World bondage Africans continued to cherish these beliefs; and, according to Zephaniah Swift, "to them the prospect of terminating life furnishes the pleasing consolation of terminating their wretchedness . . . and they fondly believe that they shall have a day of retribution in another existence in their native land."40 Swift's point was made more forcefully in May 1733 by an African woman in Salem, Massachusetts, who, after announcing she was going home to her own country, slit open her stomach.4' Similarly a woman captive aboard the slaver Canterbury in 1767 re- fused to speak to the white crew, and despite torture starved herself until her death-telling her black shipmates the night before she died that "she was going to her friends."42 Lieutenant Baker Davidson informed the House of Commons during their inquiry into the slave trade that it was common for sick Negroes to say, with much pleasure, that they were going to die, and were "going home from this Buccra country."43 It was generally accepted in the Afro-American subcul- tures that suicides would return to Africa after death, possessions and all. Fred- rika Bremer reports that female slaves commonly placed their favorite headker- chiefs on the corpse of a suicide; for each assumed that "it will thus be conveyed to those who are dear to her in the mother country; and will bear a salutation from her. The corpse of a suicide slave has been covered with hundreds of such to- kens. "
"White Cannibals, Black Martyrs: Fear, Depression, and Religious Faith as Causes of Suicide Among New Slaves"William D. Piersen, The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 62, No. 2 (Apr., 1977), pp. 147-159
It would appear that among West African slaves, suicide did not hold any stigma and actually offered a means of liberation so much so their funerals reflected this. I hope this information helps some.
Ps. the voodoo doll is not a myth; it is actually a powerful tool particularly if used for protection. I thought I would clarify this incase you decide to incorporate it into a future novel.