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Does Nigeria Really Have The Second Highest Rate of Paternity Fraud in the World?

Social media, particularly Twitter, has been awash with reports that Nigeria has the second highest rate of paternity fraud in the world, with Jamaica leading on the list. But how true is this? 

Paternity fraud is a deeply problematic issue in Nigeria as fathers have been raising children that are not theirs. It is something that can frighten you, but again, that’s the reality prevailing. But just how serious is it? 

First, paternity fraud is when a father cares and raises a child thinking the child is his own when that child is not his. It’s a traumatizing experience when one realizes he has been raising a child who’s not his. 

A picture from a presentation was posted on Twitter carrying the paternity fraud tests. 

@sarletlee on Twitter 

This sparked debate and conversation around the whole topic in Nigeria. Does Nigeria really rank second in the world when it comes to paternity fraud? 

She added, “In a phone interview with Ventures Africa, Mr Ayodele Ayodeji of Paternity Test Nigeria said there is one case of paternity fraud out of every four paternity test conducted at the centre. ‘I will say one out of four paternity tests turn out negative,’ he told me.”

“According to a forensic geneticist, Dr. Abiodun Salami, 30 per cent of fathers are unknowingly nurturing and investing in children who are not biologically theirs.”

“This false pretence is common among Nigerian women. Durex survey suggested that Nigerian women are the most unfaithful in the world and a DNA expert from Lagos University Teaching Hospital claimed that 30% of Nigerian men are not the biological father of all the children.”

The fact is apart from this presentation, there are no other official stats to back these claims, no other data or online research to back this. But, this just shows how prevalent the issue of paternity fraud is in Nigeria.    

One article on Ventures Africa once said, “In truth, cases of paternity fraud aren’t common in Nigeria, largely because they are either often settled out of court, or swept under the carpet.” 

“The implications of paternity fraud are major, disrupting relationships, homes, and marriages.  Victims of this crime – father or child, stands the risk of depression, and mental health problems. A child victim is more likely to have self esteem issues and anxiety. When women make the choice to lie about the paternity of their children, they should bear in mind the misery and heartache these children may later experience.”

Without official figures, it will be hard to see whether Nigeria ranks second in the world in this regard. It could be fact. It could be fiction. It could be a myth. Or, the manifestations of a patriarchal society trying to switch the narrative of cheating and infidelity to women. 

What is beyond doubt, nonetheless, is that lots of paternity fraud are going on in Nigeria. Why women would pin children on wrong fathers, well…

Should DNA testing be made mandatory at birth in order to curb this? 

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