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

Agoi Joel Olatunde
Joel Olatunde Agoi
Journalist AFP Lagos Bureau.

Inside Uganda’s controversial ‘pregnancy crisis centres’, where contraception is discouraged

Undercover investigation shows that controversial US-linked centres are defying government policy and providing inaccurate medical information

Coronavirus reaction: Sinophobia with Western characteristics

Western media has racialised the coronavirus outbreak, leading to increased Sinophobia in several countries. Such dehumanisation of a race has no place in functioning democracies

Golding opportunity for kleptocrats

Government must take steps to clean up the country’s dirty real estate market, which has long offered a safe haven for criminals

SAA’s rescue men fly in defiance

The airline’s business rescue practitioners ignored a warning not to announce route closures and possible job cuts ahead of a restructuring plan

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it