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DNA expert reveals that 3 out of 10 men in Nigeria are not the biological fathers of their children

By Nina Steele 

Childless black coupleAlthough this report came out in 2012, I recently became aware of it through my social media feed. The findings of the report were brought up during a discussion on the Nigerian news outlet TVC Nigeria. The discussion was about a man who suspected that his wife was cheating and as a result, he was considering a paternity test on all his children to determine whether or not he was their father.

As fitting for a discussion on paternity, the 2012 report was used as proof that this case is one of many in Nigeria. Inevitably, the discussion turned to why women feel the need to cheat. One of the panellists, himself a man, showed some insight by pointing to the fact that, in some of those cases, the women do so as a result of failing to conceive in their marriages.

It would of course be naïve to pretend that women in all those cases cheated because their husbands failed to get them pregnant. Just like men cheat for the thrill of having sex with someone who isn’t their wife or partner, the same is true of women.

Having said that, knowing the kind of pressure African women are under whenever they are unable to conceive, I am in absolute agreement with the male panellist that the other motivation behind women cheating is to conceive. And as many Africans have always known, he, the male panellist brought up the fact that, in many of the cases where the woman becomes pregnant through an affair after years of trying with her husband, the husband knows that the child isn’t his, but chooses to turn a blind eye because it suits him.

I don’t condone affairs, far from it. They are soul destroying because of the countless lies those involved have to tell. However, in a culture that places parenthood above everything else, I totally understand why these women, in their desperation, feel they have no other choice but to cheat.

African men only have themselves to blame in cases like these. It is they who in the majority of cases, fail to support their wives, when as a couple, they are unable to conceive. Not only are the women left to face the wrath of their in-laws alone, but also, in many cases, they end up being dumped for other women.

There is an urgent need for a culture change when it comes to the issue of infertility in Africa. We cannot continue to have a situation where infertility is still considered too shameful for anyone to admit to, particularly men, who view their virility as what defines them above all else.

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