After reading the story of Ada Priscilla Nzimiro, a young woman with a very bright star who was tragically cut down, I can’t help but marvel at ‘village people’.

Ada Priscilla Nzimiro was born in Port Harcourt, Old Eastern region on 30 April 1923, the same year general elections were held for the first time in Nigeria, to wealthy parents. She was the first child of mother but had step-siblings.

Ada was a very intelligent girl and excelled in academics that’s why when she expressed her desire to study medicine and become a doctor, her parents supported her fully.

In 1945, Nzimiro enrolled at the University of Glasgow in Scotland where she studied and trained as a doctor.

She graduated MB ChB in 1950 and thus became the first woman from Igboland to qualify as a medical doctor.

She returned to Nigeria that same, but barely a year after she graduated, on 22 March 1951, as she was fully entering into her role as the first practicing female doctor in the entire region, she suddenly died without warning at the age 27. It came as a huge shock to the entire region, as well as her family and well wishers.

Later reports revealed she died of unnatural causes.She was buried a month after in Oguta, Imo state on 27 April 1951.

After Nzimiro’s death, the William Wilberforce Academy (WWA), which was the first of two secondary schools her parents established at Oguta in 1945, was renamed to Priscilla Memorial Grammar School. This was done in order to honour her memory and record her achievement in the field of medicine.

However, the fact remains that she died prematurely and ‘unnaturally’ a year after graduating and returning to Nigeria to practice.

Who do we attribute this tragedy to? ‘Village people’ at work or a quirk of cruel fate?

Below is her photo as seen in the University of Glasgow archives


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