Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Nigerian town is ‘twins capital’ of the world

 

 

The sign greeting visitors at the entrance to Igbo-Ora in southwest Nigeria welcomes people to a place unlike anywhere on Earth: “Twins capital of the world”. The town boasts of having the highest concentration of multiple births in the world.

The town recently hosted its second festival, attracting hundreds of sets of twins dressed in traditional clothes.

“We feel elated that we are being honoured today,” said Kehinde Durowoju as he hugged his identical brother, Taiwo. “With this event, the whole world will better appreciate the importance of Ibeji [twins] as special children and gifts from God.”

Jimoh Olajide Titiloye, a traditional leader in Igbo-Ora, knows all about this special quirk. “I am a twin, my wife is a twin and I have twins as children,” he said. “There is hardly any household in this town which does not have at least a set of twins.”

Yoruba ruler, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, said the festival “is a celebration of culture and recognition of Ibeji as special children in Yorubaland”. He said the birth of twins “heralds peace, progress, prosperity and good luck to their parents”.

But residents have a theory that the high number of twins is down to the diet of women in the town. “Our people eat ilasa [okra leaf] soup with yam and amala [cassava flour],” said Samuel Adewuyi Adeleye.

Yams are believed to contain gonado­tropins that help women to produce multiple eggs. But fertility experts say there is no proven link between diet and the high birth rate.

“It’s a genetic thing,” said Emmanuel Akinyemi, the medical director of Lagos-based Estate Clinic.

“I think the gene for multiple births is in the region and this has been passed on from generation to generation.”

A study in 1972 and 1982 by British gynaecologist Patrick Nylander recorded an average of 45 to 50 sets of twins per 1 000 live births in the region.

But high twinning rates of above 18 per 1 000 births are not restricted to Nigeria and occur in most Central African countries, according to a study (Twinning Across the Developing World) in the journal Population and Development Review (2011). It found that Benin had the highest rate (27.9 per 1 000) in the area. — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Agoi Joel Olatunde
Joel Olatunde Agoi
Journalist AFP Lagos Bureau.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Cape Flats gangsters, children die in fight over turf

Extortion rackets are part of a corrupt system that includes religious leaders, councillors, police and syndicates

Tobacco farmers want the taxman to do more to control...

The Black Tobacco Farmers’ Association the introduction of a minimum price level for cigarettes

More top stories

Cape Flats gangsters, children die in fight over turf

Extortion rackets are part of a corrupt system that includes religious leaders, councillors, police and syndicates

Father and son abandon gangs to start a project of...

After spending more than 40 years in a life of gangsterism, Ralph Haricombe’s life changed after his son asked him to change his life

Tobacco farmers want the taxman to do more to control...

The Black Tobacco Farmers’ Association the introduction of a minimum price level for cigarettes

Predators: Beauties or beasts?

How farmers perceive jackal and caracal — as ‘beautiful’ or ‘thieves’ — determines whether they will tolerate them on their livestock farms
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×