By Emenike Peace Udochukwu
There hardly goes by a day without reports of paternity fraud. Paternity fraud is a deliberate misidentification of the father of a child by the mother. Just last week, this writer stumbled on a report by Vanguard newspaper declaring that Nigeria has the second highest rate of paternity fraud in the world, Jamaica being the first.
From the statistics presented by Vanguard, at least, four out of ten Nigerian men are not the biological father of their supposed child(ren). This leads me to the big question: who is to blame? The parents who do not teach the importance of moral values, or the society that has lost its moral standards?
Rising cases of paternity fraud are reflection of how much decadence we have witness in our moral values in today’s society. It is a pointer to the fact that the society we now live in is waning in value, morals, fidelity, and trust. In fact, morality and integrity now seem quaint that anyone who still upholds them is now regarded as an “old school”.
However, the seeds of this unfortunate happening were planted years back in our respective families. We now have parents in the society who chastise young ladies for getting pregnancies for shoemakers and the like, but applaud others who become “baby-mamas” to artists or celebrities; parents who profane the government for embezzling funds, but never chastise their children for engaging in “Yahoo”; parents who clamour for government accountability, but never question their 15-year-old daughters on how they get expensive iPhones.
Yours truly is not oblivious to the fact that there are still few parents and individuals who would not reinvent the wheel of moral values, but saddled with the majority of adults who are guilty of dereliction of duties, the moral values in the society will continue to deplete, thus, lead to all forms of immoralities, incorporating paternity fraud.
Also, societal pressure is another factor which contributes to the high rate of paternity fraud. For instance, in a family where there are no children, the woman takes the backlash, whether or not the man is the primary cause of the infertility therein. And, in most cases, if the man is, some women may be forced to engage in an extramarital affair to conceive, just to avoid harsh lashing words from the public. This, therefore, results in an increased rate of paternity fraud.
Moreover, in a society where double-dating is seen as the norm, and relationship is seen as a poverty alleviation strategy, how then do we blame a lady for deliberately pushing another man’s child to a richer partner?
Summarily, the change in moral decadence should begin with us. After all, charity they say begins at home. It is high time we reinforced the good-old days when moral rectitude and truth were the order of the day. Parents should not neglect their duties which include raising decent and responsible individuals who make up members of our society since a responsible family gives rise to a responsible society.