Igbo Ora, a town 80 kilometers from Lagos, is easily the twin capital of the world: unconfirmed estimates from the town say it boasts a mind-blowing 158 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births.
Twins, the birth of two offspring from the same pregnancy, is a relatively uncommon phenomenon, and as such, twins are often regarded as special.
Worldwide, the birth rate of twins varies by region and country this is according to a study published around 2011 in the US national library of medicine. According to the study, Latin America and Southeast Asia have the lowest rates, with only about 9 sets of twins per every 1,000 births.
In Europe, the figure is about 16 twins for every 1,000 births, and in the United States, it is about 33 for every 1,000 births.
And in central Africa, that number raises to around 18 to 30 sets of twins for every 1,000 births.
However, the Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria boast the highest number of twin births in the world, with about 50 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births.
And in Yorubaland, one town in particular appears to take the prize for the highest number of multiple births in the world.
Igbo Ora, a town 80 kilometers from Lagos, is the twin capital of the world: unconfirmed estimates from the town say it boasts a mind-blowing 158 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births.
At the entrance to the town, visitors are welcomed with a large plinth, which proudly celebrates its reputation as “the land of twins.”
An unnamed youth corper who served in the area had this to say about the town
“That Igbo-ora is the home of twins is an understatement, every home you go into has at least a set of twins, with some having as much as four or five sets.” –
“Twins are so much that it was common in the same compound to hear acronyms like iya ibeji1, iya ibeji eko, iya ibeji iberekodo etc. and shouting the names Taiwo or kehinde on the street will leave you with severals eyes turning around to look at you trying to figure out if you were calling them. such is the rate at which twin births are so common in the town.” he said.
The unusually large number of twin births in the region have earned the town the nickname Twin Capital of the World. In Igbo-Ora, research has suggested that the multiple births could be related to the eating habits of the women in the region. Though no direct relation between dietary intake and twin births has been proven, a research study carried out at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital has suggested that the consumption of a specific type of yam containing a natural phytoestrogen, which is thought to stimulate a woman’s ovaries to release eggs from each side could be responsible.
The locals and residents of Igbo Ora, however, say the secret of their multiple births lie in their staple, which consists of the leaf of an okra plant and yam.
In a 2013 interview, a community leader said, “We eat a lot of the okra leaf or Ilasa soup. We also eat a lot of yam and these diets influence multiple births.”
One drawback of the study though is that no scientific explanation or evidence can prove that yam consumption can cause multiple births.