A Nigerian lawyer, Esther Chukwuemeka, earlier described as the country’s youngest, who was called to the Bar on Thursday, has reacted to controversies surrounding her real age.
Reports had claimed that the young woman who graduated from an Indian university was called to the bar at the age of 20 years.
However, Esther, who reacted to the interest that her success has generated in Nigeria, said in a chat with BBC Pidgin she is actually 24 years and not 20 as widely reported in the media.
The girl, who hails from Okigwe, Imo State, finished her secondary school at the age of 13.
She passed the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) and got admission to the Abia State University (ABSU), but the school denied her admission on age grounds.
The girl’s father quickly responded to the setback and sent her to India where she studied law.
She said: “Hello good morning. My name is Esther Ebuna Owadike. But call me Barr. Esther Ebuna Owadike. I really thank God for the journey so far. I thank God for bringing to this point.
“ I really appreciate everyone who has reached me. I started my journey in secondary school at age 9. I completed the journey at age 15, not 13, contrary to what is out there online. Also, I got admission to study Political Science at Abia State University, Uturu, I think at age 16 or so. That was after I couldn’t get in immediately. I applied to study law, but I got Political Science.”
On how she proceeded to India to study law, the lawyer added: “I did start, I started the school, but during the process, my director, Pastor Vid Ogu suggested to my parents that we work my admission to study law in India which my parents considered and we pursued the entire process.
“That was how I left to study law in India at age of 17. I had to start all over again. I had already spent one year in ABSU. So I had to start again from first year in India. That is it.
“I spent five years in India and came back in 2019 for my Bar part one and because of the COVID-19, we couldn’t complete the entire law school. So, God is helping us, all of us. We finished this time and that is how my journey has been all the while.”
Esther apologised to Nigerians for the misinformation about her age and academic pursuits.
“I really like to apologise for the false information out there. It was not intended to mislead the public. It was a message. It was a congratulatory message that was put out due to excitement and I also thank the person that put it out.
“However, it happened that the facts are not entirely correct. Thank you everyone. I really appreciate everything. I am still your small, little Esther. I am still your girl that looks even 15, 16, or 18.
“However, I am not 20 years. I am 24. Although I look 15, 16, or 18 name it. Thank you so much. Thank you everyone. I really appreciate it,” she concluded.
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