By Sunday Ani
On February 14, 2012, fate served a bitter dish to a promising young girl, 32-year-old Chekwube Peace Eze. On that fateful night, when the world was celebrating love, Chekwube had an overdose of hatred as she was bathed with acid by a lady who alleged she offended her. Her offence was falling in love with a man with whom her attacker was also in love.
Ever since the incident, Chekwube, a native of Ajuona Eworogu village in Orba autonomous community, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, has been in and out of hospital. She has undergone a series of corrective surgeries on her ear, neck, chest, breast and hand, yet she is still in pain. It has been a tale woe, sorrow, agony and pain, as she remains indoors nursing her wounds, permanently incapacitated and dependent on people for survival.
Sunday Sun had, in its edition of April 1, 2012, headlined “Acid Rivalry,” published a chilling story of how Chekwube was allegedly attacked with raw acid by Chidimma Eze from Umunkpume in the same Orba community on the night of February 14, 2012, over a man.
Although Chidimma denied being responsible for the acid bath, Chekwube insisted that she saw her clearly in company with two hefty, fierce-looking men that night and, before she splashed the deadly substance on her, she had said: “You want to take my husband away from me but before you do that, I will send you to your grave.”
Nine years after the dastardly act, Chekwube is still battling to retain her left hand from being amputated. Other areas affected by the acid bath seemed to have responded to surgical interventions except her left hand. The effect of the acid on her left hand has become so bad that doctors at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu, where she underwent the previous surgeries, had recommended another round of surgery to save the hand from amputation.
According to the acid victim, some good-spirited Nigerians, including the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Udenu Local Government Area chairman, Mr. Solomon Onah, among others, had, at different times, made donations for her upkeep and hospital bills but that has not been enough.
“My left hand got to the present bad state due to insufficient money to go for a complete surgery. It has been a piecemeal surgery all along because there is no money. A surgery had earlier been carried out on this hand but, instead of healing, it has degenerated to this level and when I went back to the hospital, doctors said I would have to go for another round of surgeries on the hand, otherwise it would be amputated. They said it would cost about N1 million or more,” she said.
From the look of things, only prompt response by kind people would save Chukwube from becoming an amputee sooner than later.
Meanwhile, she lamented that, despite her cries for justice, nothing has been done about the suspect: “Nothing was done to the girl who masterminded this evil against me. She is from a wealthy family; so I know her family has influenced the course of justice, while I languish here because I don’t have anybody to speak for me.”
The victim is still crying for justice, calling on the authorities to ensure that justice is served and appropriate punishment meted out, even as she appealed to Gov. Ugwuanyi, Udenu council boss, Mr. Onah, well-meaning, good-spirited Nigerians, philanthropic organisations, as well as religious bodies to assist her to save her hand from being amputated and even to remain alive.
Chekwube can be reached on 07030588411, 09028630532; and any financial assistance could be sent to her through her bank account, First Bank, account number: 3030568706, name: Eze Peace Chekwube.