Whatever Happened to Charity Agbakwuru?

Sometimes a tragedy could be the making of you, and this was exactly was happened in the case of Katie Piper. Following an acid attack by an ex-boyfriend which left her disfigured, partially blind, and dysphagic, she refused to lock herself up in a room feeling sorry for herself (She hates the term ‘acid victim’, and prefers to be known as an ‘acid survivor‘). Instead, she became an inspiration, waiving her anonymity to increase public awareness of burn victims and the treatment they undergo. Her bravery earned her the honour of delivering Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message in 2009, in which she urged the public not to judge others by their appearance. Since then, she has appeared on several programmes worldwide including 20/20 and 60 Minutes, written a book, and established her own charity. Even her modelling caerer which most people believed was dead and buried was revived – she featured in an ad campaign for M&S this autumn. I was even happier to learn that she is now in a relationship – although she refuses to reveal his identity – and is now pregnant with her first child. Without a doubt, she would make a good mother.

Nigeria has had its own share of acid victims over the years, and not all stories have ended as happily as Katie’s. In 1990, the headlines were ablaze with the news that Charity Agbakwuru, an Education student of the University of Port-Harcourt, was bathed in acid by her jilted boyfriend after he spotted her talking to another man who she claimed was just a friend. His parting words before fleeing were reportedly “Let me see how any man will love you”. It was not the first time a Nigerian had been droused in acid, but Charity captured the heart – and sympathy – of the nation because she was a beauty queen who was now disfigured beyond recognition. A number of Nigerian celebrities raised money for reconsructive surgey in America, and although it was confirmed that Charity was eventually flown aboard, nothing has been heard of her since.

I understand that Charity wishes to get on with her life, but I need to know that she’s fine and getting on with her life the way she was meant to before her jealous ex changed it forever. And I am ashamed of the way Nigerians behaved – when she suffered with those burns she was all over the news, but she ceased to be our problem the moment she left the shores. I hope surgery went well, and that she’s not living the life of a recluse. Either way, she should take a cue from Katie Piper. Yes, Charity may no longer have her stunning looks, but she’s alive. And life is worth living, despite the obstacles. What sickens me is that her British counterpart continues to undergo countless operations to rebuild her features while most people suffer the pain of unnecessary boob jobs…this is exactly why I hate shows like The Only Way is Essex; why people would want a vajazzle is beyond me. We should all learn from her story and realise that vanity is pointless. Acid or no acid, Katie is a beautiful woman – both inside out and out. As for those cowards who feel threatened and attempt to ruin the lives of these women, you can try but you’ll never succeed. May you receive the punishment you rightfully deserve – both in jail and in hell.

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