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

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Agoi Joel Olatunde
Joel Olatunde Agoi
Journalist AFP Lagos Bureau.

Related stories

Why anti-corruption campaigns are bad for democracy

Such campaigns can draw attention to the widespread presence of the very behaviour they are trying to stamp out — and subconsciously encourage people to view it as appropriate

Inside the illicit trade in West Africa’s oldest artworks

Nok terracottas are proof that an ancient civilisation once existed in Nigeria. Now they are at the centre of a multimillion-dollar, globe-spanning underground industry — and once again, Nigeria is losing out

Editorial: A failure of leadership in Nigeria

For as long as there has been an independent Nigeria, its government has been killing its people.

Unite with Nigeria’s ‘Speak Up’ generation protesting against police brutality

Photos of citizens draped in the bloodied flag have spread around the world in the month the country should be celebrating 60 years of independence

The Nigerian government is killing its citizens — again

‘Nigeria kills its people. Nigeria has always killed its people.’

Finance probe into the Ingonyama Trust Board goes ahead

The threat of legal action from ITB chairperson Jerome Ngwenya fails to halt forensic audit ordered by the land reform minister
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Air pollution link in 15% of global Covid-19 deaths

Researchers have found that, because ambient fine particulate air pollution aggravates comorbidities, it could play a factor in coronavirus fatalities

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

BMW X3 thrives in the M stable

The compact SUV is so at home with its new badge that’s it’s surprising it didn’t happen sooner
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday