Countries With The Highest Paternity Fraud In The World: Does Nigeria Make Up 30% Of The Highest Rate of Paternity Fraud In The World?

Recently, discussions about paternity and paternity fraud have been prevalent in the media, sparked by a recent incident.

Last week, reports surfaced that Geremi Njitap, a former Chelsea and Cameroon midfielder and multiple AFCON winner, has initiated divorce proceedings against his wife, Laure Fotso. This decision followed DNA tests that confirmed his two children were fathered by her ex-partner. Geremi, 45, alleged in court documents that Laure’s actions, including a past fling resulting in the birth of their twins, had severely damaged their marriage. He cited her dishonesty and the revelation about the twins’ paternity, born in June 2008 before their marriage, as key factors leading to their separation.

While Geremi’s situation may have been shocking to him, it resonated with many Nigerians, as similar cases of paternity fraud have been reported. This aligns with a 2021 discovery that ranked Nigeria as second only to Jamaica in the highest rate of paternity fraud.

Let’s explore what Paternity Fraud is all about, the countries with the highest rate, and what could be done to curb this in an ever-changing world:

What Is Paternity Fraud?

Paternity fraud occurs when a woman falsely claims that a man is the biological father of her child, leading him to believe he has fathered a child when, in fact, he has not.

This deception often stems from various motivations, including financial gain, social status, or concealing infidelity. Paternity fraud not only shatters trust within relationships but also has profound effects on the lives of innocent children. 

Many children are experiencing paternity scandals by learning that their father is not their biological father.

The Challenge

Paternity fraud poses a significant challenge in Nigeria, yet there is a lack of reliable data on its prevalence. A 2016 report indicated that approximately 30% of men who underwent DNA tests discovered they were not the biological fathers of their children. Similarly, a study conducted in Lagos revealed that 27% of paternity tests yielded incorrect paternity results, highlighting the widespread nature of this issue.

Recall that in 2021, a case involving comedian Nedu illustrates the complexities of relationships and their impact on children. Nedu’s ex-wife accused him of domestic violence, prompting him to disclose that their first son was not biologically his. His ex-wife claimed she was unaware of this fact until the DNA test results and asserted her fidelity during their marriage.

This situation underscores the emotional turmoil and identity crisis children may experience upon learning their biological father’s identity differs from their presumed father. Such revelations can lead to feelings of distress and confusion, as well as potential challenges in familial and societal acceptance. Additionally, disputes over financial support and custody rights may arise in such cases.

Paternity fraud remains a contentious issue in Nigerian society, with conflicting and unreliable statistics circulating. However, a 2015 article by Ventures Africa quoted Ayodele Ayodeji, an employee of Paternity Nigeria, stating, “I will say that one out of four paternity tests turns out negative.”

Proposed Solutions For Curbing This Act

These steps are not exhaustive, but they are important actions we can take to address this issue.

Awareness: It’s important to let people know about paternity fraud through campaigns, media, and discussions. Everyone should understand how this dishonesty affects people emotionally and in society.

Affordable & Accessible DNA Testing: Making DNA tests cheaper and easier can help people find out if they’re the father. This would let men find out the truth without worrying about money.

Support For Affected Children: There should be enough help for kids dealing with paternity fraud. They need support to handle their feelings and emotions during this tough time.

Legal Reforms: The legal legislature especially in a country like ours must recognize the importance of new laws that specifically talk about paternity fraud. These laws should give clear instructions for people who have been affected and want to seek justice.

Written by Seunfunmi Joshua

Seunfunmi is a Publicist, Filmmaker, Writer & Producer of Live Events..

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