Never in recent times has the issue of DNA testing and paternity fraud been as topical and controversial as it was in 2021.
The year witnessed a series of shocking unfolding events that threw many Nigerian men into the dilemma of either confirming the paternity of their wards or simply letting sleeping dogs lie!
But two landmark incidents gave rise to renewed patronage and a surge in DNA testing in Nigeria.
FCMB paternity scandal
It all began in December 2020 but became a full-blown scandal in January 2021.
It was revealed that a lady, Moyo Thomas, allegedly had an affair with Adam Nuru, the then Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, resulting in two children.
The petition alleged that the bank MD was responsible for the demise of his alleged lover’s husband, Tunde Thomas.
Mr Thomas was said to have died of depression on December 16, 2020.
According to the petition, following the FCMB MD’s alleged affair with Moyo, she informed her husband that she was leaving Nigeria for the United States with the kids only to call him upon arrival that the children do not belong to him.
The petition claimed the news initially caused the deceased to have a stroke but he later recovered and thereafter, met another lady whom he planned to marry.
He was, however, said to have suffered a cardiac arrest after returning from work about two days before his introduction to his already pregnant girlfriend.
FCMB was in the eye of the storm when the allegations of an unprofessional romantic affair between both parties were made public by friends of the deceased.
The bank would later appoint Yemisi Edun as its acting managing director.
The decision came amidst the scandal involving the managing director of the bank, Adam Nuru.
Mr Nuru proceeded on leave, to enable the bank to investigate the allegations against him.
Nedu made the claims when he responded to the domestic violence allegations levelled against him by his ex-wife, Uzoamaka Ohiri.
Ms Ohiri, accused him of battering her a few weeks after she was delivered of their child by a Cesarean section.
Nedu said: ‘‘Our marriage was plagued with a lot of issues. One of which was continuous infidelity from her side that led to me conducting a paternity test on our kids which led to the revelation that our first son is not my biological son…’
Ms Ohiri responded by saying that she wasn’t aware of the paternity of their first child until a DNA test was conducted.
Explaining the origin of the DNA scandal during her interview with Goldmyne, Ms Ohiri said “I was seeing someone before Nedu, he was on the side disturbing me, he had invited me a couple of times. I turned him down after the relationship ended, Nedu and I met up.
“Along the line, I found out that I was pregnant. Trust me, if I knew that my first child was not for him, I wouldn’t have married him. I can’t deliberately pick another man’s child and give it to another man. If I knew, I wouldn’t have gotten married to him. On my wedding day, I was pregnant, everybody saw it.”
Speaking further, the mother-of-three, who insisted that she was faithful while she was married, said the comedian doesn’t deserve her son.
DNA testing boom
Paternity fraud has been in existence forever however these two major cases, fueled by social media, brought about renewed calls for DNA testing .
Other men who are victims of paternity fraud, also came forward to share their stories on social media.
To this end, this newspaper contacted Abiodun Salami, a senior geneticist with a DNA Centre for Paternity Test, Allen Avenue in Ikeja, Lagos, to shed light on the issue.
Mr Salami revealed that the statistics of paternity fraud in Nigeria was incredibly mind-blowing.
Salami noted that six out of every 10 paternity tests in Nigeria turn out negative. These statistics weren’t helping matters. He further stated that just this year, from conducting 100 DNA tests in a month, previously, it skyrocketed to over 400 paternity testings, monthly.
He also said from experience in DNA testing, most firstborns are not fathered by the husbands at home, because these ladies have a prior relationship before getting married. Most times, they continue with that relationship, they don’t leave it after marriage.