Paternity fraud: Nigerians react as allegations rock many homes

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Olanrewaju Kolawole an indigene of Ikire in Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State believed he is the father of all the four children in his house.

His hope of fathering the four children jointly raised by his wife, Toyin Tella was dashed when the results of the DNA conducted on the four children were released.

The results of the DNA carried out at DDC DNA Diagnostic Center in Osogbo, Osun State capital, showed that the 44-year-old man is not the biological father of the four children.

This made Kolawole to cry out and seek help from well meaning Nigerians.

Kolawole and his estranged wife, Toyin Tella appeared on a live radio programme christened “Kokoro Alate”, anchored by Oriyomi Hamzat on Agidigbo 88.7 FM in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Kolawole wept profusely after the DNA test results showed that none of the children was his biological child.

It was learnt that Kolawole and his wife, Toyin, got married in 2007 and the marriage produced four children.

Kolawole revealed that the DNA test on the first child revealed that the child did not belong to him.

He added that he subsequently carried out tests on the three other children, and all returned negative results.

He said, “I want Nigerians to come to my rescue because I must not suffer this in vain. I married Toyin in 2007 and gave birth to four children. She gave birth to four children, but none of them belong to me after findings from a DNA test.”

However, the wife disagreed with the results.

She said that she was not there when they took the sample and did not know which samples were taken.

“I don’t accept the result. I don’t accept it because I was not there when they took samples, and I don’t know which sample they took, so I don’t accept it. I can’t accept it because I know how I conceived those children,” she declared.

The above story is not a scene in any of the Nollywood movies but a true story of a family which has been shattered by alleged paternity fraud.

Reportsshows that the first case of paternity fraud will gain media attention in recent times.

In 2021, a case of alleged paternity fraud between the family of Mr. Tunde Thomas and the family of Mr. Adam Nuru gained media attention across the country.

It was alleged that Moyo Thomas who married Mr. Tunde Thomas was having a secret romantic affair with the Managing Director of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Mr. Adam Nuru.

It was claimed that the relationship between Moyo Thomas and Nuru started when the woman was an employee of FCMB.

Tunde Thomas had been legally married to Moyo Thomas, and it was generally believed then that the two children produced by the marriage were those of Mr Thomas.

It was reported that Moyo had informed her husband that she was leaving Nigeria for the United States with the kids only to inform him upon arrival that the children were not his but for the FCMB MD.

The news allegedly caused Mr Thomas to be down with a stroke and later cardiac arrest which led to his death.

However, Moyo later came up and dismissed the claims.

In her statement, she denied ever telling her late husband that he was not the father of her children.

“I write in reference to all the allegations and accusations that have recently been making the rounds on the internet and various social media platforms. I have refrained from responding to this matter for various reasons, one of which is to preserve the memories of Tunde who departed to be with his maker on December 16, 2020. Memories, not only to me, but to his children, who are still young, and to everybody who had a relationship with him.

“Just like any marriage, Tunde and I had a lot of differences in our marriage, some of which even led to police intervention. But I remain committed to keeping only positive memories of him. No one can ever understand what transpired between us or what each of us experienced in the marriage; like they say, it is he who wears the shoes that knows where it pinches. In all of it, I never for once wished him bad. His untimely and sudden death is still a shock to me as it is to many others.

“On no occasion did I ever tell him he was not the father of our two children. It is therefore deliberate falsehood and certainly malicious to allege and insinuate that I informed him that the children are not his. The children still bear his name. Only God knows why he died in an untimely period. It is not in my place, or anyone’s place to play God and talk with certainty as to the cause of his death, without proven medical facts.

“Despite our separation, we never allowed our differences affect the relationships we respectively have with the children. He still had conversations with the children like any father will, up until his sudden and unfortunate death. It is quite sad and disheartening to see the pictures of these innocent children splashed all over the internet with very disparaging and weird comments.

“I do wish his family and friends the fortitude to bear the unfortunate loss and I ask that we all be allowed to grieve his loss in peace. He has now been laid to rest and we implore all and sundry to please respect our privacy and allow those grieving his loss, including the children and I, to do so in peace,” she said.

On his part, Nuru, who opted to go on leave as the bank investigated the allegations, was also said to have denied the claims.

It was also reported in 2016 that an Ikorodu Customary Court in Lagos granted the prayers of a 48-year-old artisan for the dissolution of his marriage after he confirmed that his second child belonged to another man.

The Court President, Mrs Omolara Abiola, separated the 10-year-old couple, having confirmed through a DNA test that the second child was not his.

In February this year, a Nollywood actor, Yomi Alore, also known as Yomi Gold, cried out for help over an alleged threat to his life following a paternity scandal with a Lagos big boy, Mosh and his wife Doyin Aduke.

These upsurge on cases of paternity fraud in many families across the have raised concern among Nigerians.

Nigerians express divergent views

There is a popular belief that paternity fraud has rocked many families, although only few have been reported.

A lecturer in the Department of Social Work, University of Calabar, Pius Akah noted that it required a multi-faceted approach to address cases of paternity fraud in the country.

Akah, who doubled as National Auditor, the Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW) maintained that a combination of legal measures, educational initiatives and support services is needed to reduce the occurrence and impact of paternity fraud across the country.

“This revelation undoubtedly presents a profound emotional challenge for the 44-year-old man and his family.

“From a social worker’s standpoint, it’s crucial to approach this situation with empathy and a commitment to fostering understanding.

“Initial intervention might involve providing a safe space for the man to express his feelings and fears. Offering family counselling services can facilitate open dialogue, enabling all family members to navigate the complex emotions associated with this discovery.

“The focus should be on rebuilding trust, fostering resilience, and ensuring the well-being of the children involved. The social worker may also guide the family towards legal resources and help the man establish a supportive network to navigate this unexpected and emotionally charged journey.

“Overall, the objective is to promote healing, understanding, and ultimately, a path towards a healthier family dynamic.

“Addressing the issue of paternity fraud requires a multi-faceted approach. Education and awareness campaigns can help individuals understand the importance of honesty and transparency in relationships.

“Legal reforms might focus on updating paternity testing regulations to ensure accurate and accessible methods.

“Counselling services should be readily available to support individuals and families navigating the emotional aftermath of such revelations.

“Additionally, promoting open communication and mutual respect within relationships can contribute to preventing such situations.

“Overall, a combination of legal measures, educational initiatives, and support services can work together to reduce the occurrence and impact of paternity fraud,” he said.

There should be regulation for the conduct of paternity tests – Marriage counsellor

A marriage counsellor, Mrs. Elizabeth Adamolekun noted that the government should rise up to the occasion by putting a regulation to control paternity tests.

She added that the government should be proactive enough to control how it is done.

She said that, “We need to look at it holistically. We need to find out if the equipment used and if the result is not influenced.

“If we are sure of that, then we need to look at the agreement between the couple before we conclude that the woman is at fault.

“We need to be sure if the man’s reproductive organs are in a good position and if it is fertile. There are some situations where the man’s sperm is not fertile and the man makes arrangements with his family members or friends to impregnate the woman.

“This case has gone beyond the family but the society at large. It shows the moral decadence in the society. The government should rise to the occasion.”

Court can order for DNA to be conducted – Lawyer

A Jos-based lawyer, Sam Tokz, noted that the law is clear on the issue of paternity of a child.

Toks, a former President of Students’ Union Government, University of Jos, while speaking, maintained that the Supreme Court has held that there is a presumption of paternity of a child during a subsisting marriage.

He added that where there is suspicion on the paternity of a child, the Court can order for DNA to be conducted.

“Yes, the law is clear on issues of paternity of a child. The Supreme Court has held that there is a presumption of paternity of a child during a subsisting marriage.

“Where there is suspicion on the paternity of a child, the Court can order for DNA to be conducted, and this is at the court’s discretion. From the authorities I have read so far, it is more of civil liability than criminal liability. It all depends on the circumstances,” he said.

Men should normalise DNA testing in the early weeks of delivery of the child – Public health professional

A public health professional, Pharmacist Opeyemi Akindele advised men to save money for DNA testing if they do not trust their wife.

He also enjoined men to normalise DNA testing in the early weeks of delivery of the child.

He added that women who see any other man apart from their husbands should take emergency contraceptives after sex.

“We must come to a point where society accepts the value of abstaining from sex until marriage. It will prevent a lot of the issues.

“That said, a man who has not had sex for some weeks with the wife, if he suspects extramarital affairs, he should insist she does a pregnancy test before they can have sex again.

“This definitely sounds weird since lack of trust doesn’t make sense in marriage.

“Secondly, men should normalise DNA testing in the early weeks of delivery of the child. If you don’t trust your wife, then save up money for DNA testing. That will save you headaches.

“Women who see any other man apart from their husbands should take emergency contraceptives after sex to avoid this kind of situation.

“Emergency contraceptive drugs are widely available, affordable and supported by the Nigerian government,” he told DAILY POST.

There is no sin for the conduct of DNA if the husband is in doubt – Deaconess

A deaconess at one of the churches under Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in Oyo State, Mrs. Funmi Ogundipe, while speaking, she said there was nowhere that DNA is forbidden in the Holy Bible.

Ogundipe said that a husband can conduct DNA on his child if he is in doubt of their paternity status.

“When the husband is not sure of the paternity of his child, he can conduct DNA.

“There is no place in the bible that says DNA should not be conducted. It is a matter of choice. There should be trust among couples,” she stated.

Daily Post