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Ada Esther Johnson, popularly known as Ada Ocha Ntu murdered her white lover Maurice Hall, a Railway locomotive Engineer in 1953 in his house in Ibadan.

The murder happened after she found out he used the 400pounds she loaned him for business, to go to England and marry an English bride.

According to history, Hall used part of Ada’s money to buy his new bride a car which she would use to start a transport business in the UK.

One night in 1952, 24 years old Ada Ocha Ntu stabbed her English boyfriend to death in his bungalow in Ibadan. The murder, committed in a fit of anger and jealousy gained national attention.

But as the trial progressed and details of the case emerged, sympathy for the woman spread across the nation.

The case of the murder of Maurice Hall by Esther Johnson later became a national issue.

During the trial, the prosecution argued that Esther Johnson (real name Ada Ocha Ntu) stabbed Maurice Hall because she had found out on his return from leave to the UK, he had married another girl in England. In her rush of anger, she stabbed him to death.

The defense pleaded provocation; that Esther Johnson had given him £400 to purchase a taxi for her but when he returned, she discovered he spent the money on his wedding.

The court found Esther Johnson guilty of murder on June 18, 1953 and sentenced her to death.

Clemency was granted her six months later and the death penalty was commuted to life imprisonment.

The public were not willing to accept she deserved life imprisonment and there were protests all over Nigeria especially in Kano, Jos and Ibadan.

On the 1st of October 1961 on the occasion of the first anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence and after spending 3,028 days in prison she was pardoned by the Governor General, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and released from jail.

“Esther’s Revenge” at the Freedom Park in Lagos is named after her.

She later got married to a Policeman, Mr Joshua Ayeni on April 23rd.

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