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This DNA Palaver

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Ganiyat Ganiyu

Human beings are unique, and our uniqueness is found in our DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) which makes up our genes. It serves as the “guidebook” that determines our physical and genetic traits.

Over the years, the DNA paternity tests have continued to unravel a lot of family secrets as many fathers found out that the child or children they had nurtured from birth did not belong them.

Paternity blood tests were first performed in the middle half of the 20th century, by comparing blood types of tested parties but the testing did not provide for a very powerful test. In the 1970s a more powerful test was developed using white blood cell antigens or resulting in a test that was able to exclude about 95 percent of falsely accused fathers.

When the DNA test of the children failed to match with that of the men believed to be their fathers, several women were accused of unfaithfulness and condemned into the abyss of marital ignominy, but the resulting scandal snowballed into one of the most shocking revelations in the history of parental disputes as couple of doctors and nurses have confessed to swapping babies at birth.

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The recent revelation by the East African nurse who confessed in having fun by swapping babies in the children’s ward is a rare but classic case. Such a child might become a burden to the mother who will not be able to explain what went wrong.

In the news on Monday, a DNA test revealed that a Judge of the High Court of Delta, Justice Anthony Ezonfade Okorodu was not the biological father of the three children he had raised with his lawyer ex-wife, Celia Juliet Ototo.

The Judge in a statement said the truth came to light following DNA tests conducted on the children after he got an anonymous call from a person who claimed that the children were not his.

He said Celia, walked away from the marriage when the youngest child, now 17-year-old, was just six.

Justice Okorodu who described the development as traumatic, said he and his current wife had been wholly responsible for the well-being and the education of the three children, two of whom are university undergraduates since their mother walked away 11 years ago.

Another paternity fraud that rocked the Nigerian internet space was the allegations of infidelity and extramarital affairs between the Former Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Adam Nuru, and his married former colleague, Moyo Thomas.

The case sprung up after Moyo’s husband, Tunde Thomas reportedly died of depression after discovering that his two children were not his but his wife’s ex-boss, Nuru.

Recently, Nigeria has the 2nd highest rate of paternity fraud in the world after Jamaica. Many men have been unknowingly raising children that are not theirs and to curb the trend, there have been calls for the introduction of mandatory DNA testing at birth.

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