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    Nigerian city celebrates its many twins with annual festival

    IGBO-ORA, NIGERIA (AP) – Twins appear to be unusually abundant in Nigeria’s southwestern city of Igbo-Ora. Nearly every family has twins or other multiple births, said local chief Jimoh Titiloye.

    For the past 12 years, the community has organised an annual festival to celebrate twins. This year’s event, held earlier this month, included more than 1,000 pairs of twins and drew participants from as far away as France, organisers said.

    There is no proven scientific explanation for the high rate of twins in Igbo-Ora, a city of at least 200,000 people 135 kilometres south of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. But many in Igbo-Ora believe it can be traced to women’s diets. Alake Olawunmi, a mother of twins, attributes it to a local delicacy called amala which is made from yam flour.

    Gynaecologist based in the capital, Abuja, John Ofem said it very well could be “that there are things they eat there that have a high level of certain hormones that now result in what we call multiple ovulation”. While that could explain the higher-than-normal rate of fraternal twins in Igbo-Ora, the city also has a significant number of identical twins. Those result instead from a single fertilised egg that divides into two – not because of hyperovulation.

    Taiwo Ojeniyi, a Nigerian student, said he attended the festival with his twin brother “to celebrate the uniqueness” of multiple births.

    “We cherish twins while in some parts of the world, they condemn twins,” he said. “It is a blessing.”

    Twins Kehinde Adamolekun (L) and Taiwo Adamolekun, 28, attend the annual twins festival in Igbo-Ora South west Nigeria. PHOTOS: AP
    Twins Obasekore Damilade (L) and Obasekore Damitola, 28, during the festival

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