DNA Results Publicity: Its Legal and Social Implications 2

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DNA Results Publicity: Its Legal and Social Implications

By Azubuike Ihemeje

STORY ONE

A young couple lived around my neighbourhood in the 90s. They had been married for about 7years, yet no child. Several medical results indicated that the wife was not only fertile, but she could also adequately conceive and biologically deliver children. In fact, she had confided in me that he had met her a virgin. She, being one exceptional only girl of her family; her parents were wont of driving her to and from schools daily, throughout her days in the then RSUST now Rivers State University. But the husband was quite the opposite. Talk about serial unbridled womanizing, he was just unparalleled. Being the only son of a relatively wealthy local Chief, money wasn’t an issue at all. Talk about one of the earliest spoilt children in the neighbourhood, he was top on the chart.

Although, he managed to get through university and became marginally educated, even adding extra with a Masters degree in one of those regular disciplines, while controlling his father’s numerous businesses, and his countless women. He was way older than me, but he shared most of his escapades with me and had confided in me at some point, that he hardly ever saw sperm again while having sex, ostensibly due to his almost daily activities with not less than two or three women. Guy man was on rampage daily. We always wondered how he managed those encumbrances seamlessly, without much rancour. He also said the father was like him. Little wonder, everybody was shocked to see our own best girl in the neighbourhood later end up with this Chief’s son, as wife, close to her graduation or soon thereafter.

Seven years down the marriage without a child, her mother-inlaw became extremely agitated and knowing it wasn’t her daughter-in-law’s fault, but her own son’s failure to impregnate the wife; she subsequently approached the lady to kindly and implored her to remove shame from her family, by sourcing anyhow possible to get pregnant. Mother-in-law even confided in her, that it was actually the only way she got her own pregnancy that produced her son (that’s the husband of our good girl today) for Chief. IVF was only heard as something abstract in Nigeria at the time. And guy man, still basking in his youth, didn’t seem to accept the reality that he needed to submit himself for treatment. The young lady too was getting worried as she was getting close to 30. She had gotten married relatively early, at about 22years. So, the lady asked Mother-in-law if the husband was aware of this proposal to get pregnant by all means, to which she replied in the affirmative. The lady insisted on getting her own mother involved together with her husband and Mother-in-law, for a general family consensus on the matter, before she proceeded on what later became a family most top secret.

Few years down the line, she had procured three pregnancies and children in quickest succession. And everybody was happy. Within that same period, some soberness and maturity had set in on her husband, who had then submitted himself to clinical treatments, got better and actually began to impregnate his wife, and eventually netted all by himself, another four children. Madam had ceased producing, but her husband was still active and on a rampage. He had even done some away matches and successfully got some children from there.
Oga was no longer comfortable with those first three who were not part of the family unwritten agreement that produced them as children to the family. Oga was just not happy.

“My blood, my own blood” talks everywhere he went.

“Inheritance, inheritance, my heirs my biological heirs” now charged up the family.

From subtle discrimination to full-blown war against the wife for being unfaithful. Trust Nigerians with their different advice in situations like this. Many had recommended remedies that left the family worse than they met them. Crisis, confusion and compounded issues everywhere. What could remedy this one?

Yours truly had moved on, now a lawyer. And they heard it and managed to get my number separately and called me to seek for advice.
I insisted on advising the man in particular who somewhat maintained some higher respect for me now, quite frankly; for it wasn’t really his natural thing those days. Could be one of this Nigerian’s attitude towards people they feel are well to do, or they’ve heard a lot about and appears far materially superior above them? I don’t know. But I persuaded him. I struggled to readjust his thinking against most of his very entrenched misconceptions about paternity. I applied the law robustly. I appealed to his conscience. I can be extremely busy with my own myriad of things and wahalas, but I was glad I did squeeze out some time to speak with them. Their story and identity would remain one of the secrets I would die with.

In the issuing Press Release by one judge who claimed to love his nonbiological kids, yet damaged and destroyed every single vestige that bonds them, this couple called me and expressed their deepest sympathy to those children the judge had invariably murdered, socially, emotionally and psychologically speaking.

(To be Continued…