Experts have identified high cases of infidelity and cultural pressure due to infertility as the main causes of paternity fraud in Nigeria.
Professor of Pathology, Lagos State University College of Medicine/Teaching Hospital, Prof. Francis Faduyile, who gave the hint when he appeared as a guest on The Big Issue, a daily programme in LEADERSHIP Podcast, on Wednesday said DNA testing has exposed the high rate of infidelity by both men and women in the country.
“Nevertheless, the high level of immorality where most young girls have many sexual partners and getting pregnant before marriage, not knowing the father of their child has led to many men taking care of children that are not theirs. Also, on the issue of infertility, due to pressure from family members, many women have resorted to giving their husbands children by any means necessary,” the Pathologist added.
He however noted that the issue of DNA test pops up only when there is dispute, adding that it may not be totally correct to generalise that every six out of 10 children in Nigeria are not being fathered by their biological father.
He stated: “The reason is that people in Nigeria opt for DNA tests only when there is suspicion or dispute. Also, the study that stated that six out of 10 children are not being fathered by their biological fathers may look at a small number of Nigerians who visit a particular clinic for a DNA test for a period of time.
“DNA is a perfect testing tool that can differentiate every individual in the world. Since the father and mother are the procreation of a child, the child will take part of the DNA of the father and part of the DNA of the mother. So when a child is not fathered by his biological father, the different layers that are used to segregate will not tally with that of the child’s and we can say that the child is not the biological son/daughter of the man”.
Prof Faduyile, while acknowledging the fact that a lot of Nigerian men are infertile and may want to go for IVF, surrogacy or adoption, advised that both couple must be carried along so that the issue of DNA test doesn’t pop up in the future.
He however urged men who are taking care of children that are not theirs to continue even when it is established that they are not their children because they may be the ones to take care of them when they are old.
He said, “We have seen cases of children taking care of men who raised them up, but not their biological fathers. So if you have the means and opportunity to father a child, whether yours or not, please do, because you don’t know if that child will be the one to take care of you, when you are old.”
In the same vein, the CEO/managing director, HumGene Limited, Maryam Ajikobi, told LEADERSHIP Sunday that several researchers peg the percentage of men who think they are the biological father but are not at 10 per cent worldwide, meaning one in every 10 fathers is not the biological father.
“Another interesting statistic is that 29 per cent of the time when a man questioning paternity takes a paternity test, he will find his suspicions confirmed. This means that nearly three of every 10 men who have a paternity doubt are not the biological fathers.
“In Nigeria, research shows that up to 30 per cent of fathers are not biological parents of children they have raised but based on the results I have been seeing lately, I will say it might be higher than that,” Ajikobi added.
Asked if Nigerian women are promiscuous, the CEO said, “I won’t say Nigerian women are more promiscuous and unfaithful than other women in the world because being promiscuous and unfaithful is common in a lot of countries and not Nigeria alone.”
On the worst cases of paternity tests conducted in her clinic, Ajikobi said, “The worst case I have seen so far is four children where the father is not biologically related to them. It is very difficult to break such news, but I must do my job. I am getting used to it now.”
On how much it cost to conduct the test at HumGene Limited, the CEO said the cost of DNA paternity testing for father and child is N80,000, while each extra person is N50,000.
Ajikobi who is also a geneticist said the test is conducted by first taking buccal swabs from the client.
She said, “The DNA will then be extracted, followed by PCR and analyzed using different methods. Our partner company uses the genetic analyzing machine for the analysis. The result normally takes 10 to 15 working days to be ready.
“The results are very reliable because the method used is the best and 22 loci region which is the highest is what HumGene uses. The result is either 99.99 per cent as the father or 0 per cent.”