Chekwube Ngwoke, 24, an orphan, from Umu-Oworogu in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, is now a shadow of her old self, having been bathed with acid by a woman who accused her of attempting to snatch her husband, Dozie Okafor, from her. Nnamdi Mbawike, reports that the young girl’s vital organs have been disfigured by the effect of the acid attack and her health and future seriously jeopardised.
Her world has since collapsed. She is writhing in pain for what she did not bargain for. As far as the world is concerned, the world is a wicked and dangerous place. Everything around 24-year-old Chekwube Ngwoke appears to be cruel to her.
It may be difficult for her to understand how her world seems to be collapsing at every point in time. She lost her parents –Roseline and Sunday Ngwoke-at a tender age, an ugly development that set her journey in life miles backward.
But she decided to move on with the cruelty of life and make ends meet. Her status of an orphan did not deter her from breaking the jinx associated with success. She did her best and was on her way to recovering from the deadly blow dealt her by fate when a more deadly wind stormed her path.
The blow this time around is so devastating that her life has been shattered and she may never regain her physical body, if at all she can put the sad incident behind her.
On March 8, this year, the girl was praying in her room when assailants broke into her room in the dead of the night and baptized her with acid and fled the premises before neighbours could understand what had happened.
The impact of the attack was so serious that within seconds of being bathed with the lethal material, she passed out. The attackers, made up of three masked men and a lady, had stormed the room around 1 am and poured the deadly chemical on her eyes, neck, breast and arms.
Satisfied that they had soaked her in the lethal material that would change her outlook permanently, they went for her junior brother, who had however, escaped before their arrival.
Although the neighbourhood was thrown into serious confusion and fear, none of the frightened neighbours could come to the aid of the victims for fear of being killed or being given the bath treatment by the assailants.
“We were afraid of being killed or harmed by the invaders because it was very late in the night. We were deeply touched by the shrill cries of Chekwube but we could not come to her rescue because of the fear that we could be killed by her attacker,” one of her neighbours confessed.
The young girl, who has since been admitted to the hospital for treatment, denies attempting to snatch the husband of the woman who allegedly attacked her with acid.
According to the girl, who dropped out from secondary school, she was actually approached by one Dozie Okafor for possible marriage as a second wife but she turned down the offer.
‘’Dozie Okafor is the man in the centre of the controversy. It was in April 2011 when he asked for my hand in marriage, and I told him that I was not interested. But even as I turned down his proposal, he continued insisting he would marry me.”
“After much persuasion, he requested to see my parents but I told him that they had since died. He then insisted to see my stepmother, Felicia Onah. At this point, I agreed and he went and met my stepmother’’
‘’But while all these were going on I never knew that Dozie was married to anybody. As I got the information, I confronted him and he did not deny it.
“He told me that he was no longer married to Chidimma. That was how I came to know about his relationship with her. Since then, Chidimma has been after me,’’ she stated, sobbing.
On the night she was attacked, Ngwoke said she was praying from Psalms 51, when her attackers invaded her room and poured the chemical on her.
“As I was praying, I saw something in form of a shadow approaching me. Then I quickly ran into my room and bolted the door. Simultaneously somebody hit my door hard and it was forced open.
‘’Suddenly, three young men and Chidimma Onuora Eze forced their way into the room. They wore black with black Caps. On seeing me, Chidimma said, I must kill you before you take my husband from me.”
“Without wasting time she attacked me with an axe. I cried out but one of the young men poured acid on me,” the victim stated.
Chekwube said that before now, the woman had tricked her to her house and in the presence of her husband and her relatives, she accused her of plotting to take her husband.
She said she only managed to escape with bruises that day and was treated in a nearby hospital for the wounds she sustained in the hands of Chidimma’s thugs.
An Indigene of the community who spoke to Leadership Weekend on condition of anonymity, said, “The issue of the victim snatching or intruding into the marital affairs of the lady in question is no true.”
As the crisis envelops the community and the girl continues to writhe in pain, the only consolation for her lies in the disclosure that the controversial husband of the suspect, Dozie has said that his eyes are still on the acid victim.
How soon she recovers from her trauma for the consummation of the marriage and what the agitated wife would do in the circumstance, remain to be seen.