Olosunde Christopher Adebowale is the Managing Director of EasyDNA Nigeria, a representative of EasyDNA UK in Nigeria. He started the business in 2010 and so far has conducted paternity tests on 200+ children. According to him, one out of three children fail DNA paternity test but that is not enough reason to conclude that Nigerian women are promiscuous or adulterous. He told ENCOMIUM Weekly more on DNA business in the country.
When did you start DNA business in Nigeria?
It was in 2010.
Are you a medical person or what will you say informed your going into a DNA test business?
I am a medical lad scientist. It all started when I noticed that people did not have access to DNA profile testing. I found out that the awareness is not even there in the first place. Even where there is awareness, there was no laboratory that ran the test in Nigeria.
That was what led me to make some link outside the country in order to get involved.
How then will you describe the experience since you started six years ago?
Like I said, initially the awareness was not there at all among Nigerians. But after some years, it started picking up. As at now, it has picked up a little. A lot of people are, however, still not aware about DNA test.
The awareness level in Nigeria is still not encouraging.
What do you think can be done to create the awareness among Nigerians?
The bulk of the work lies with the government. Supposing there is a DNA laboratory test in Nigeria, that would have been able to help a lot.
Of what importance is DNA to people generally?
People always think it’s about paternity. The DNA test is more than that. In case you are not sure of your family history, you can use the DNA to trace your family history. There are a lot of things that DNA can do. For example, I want to have my DNA profile now. I can have a DNA profile and keep it, it doesn’t change. If anything happens after I die, you can refer to my DNA profile.
What is DNA profile all about?
The DNA profile is the DNA of a person. Your DNA profile is different from another person’s own. If there is any problem of paternity after the person had gone, you can refer to it. It can be used to trace your family background.
But most Nigerians seem to think DNA is about paternity test mostly. Is it the case in your DNA centre?
Yes, it is part of it. People do it for paternity. But a lot of people do it for immigration purposes too. Some people that are outside want to check their families abroad. They want to do DNA. So, we do that for them as well.
How many of your clients that have done the DNA test for paternity issues?
We are getting up to 200 plus.
That has been basically on paternity tests?
What will you say has been the rate of success and failure of these 200 plus paternity tests?
Some are positive, while some are not.
What is the percentage of those who are successful and those who failed?
Those who have been successful is 80 percent and those who have failed is 20 percent.
Have you also experienced the situation where most of the first born of a family fail DNA test?
No, no, no. The middle child also fails the test, the last child also fails the test. From my experience, anyone can fail the test.
From your own personal experience would you say the DNA paternity test has proved that most Nigerian women are promiscuous or adulterous?
No, no, no, not really. We can not really say that now going by the percentage of the people that have come out to do DNA test.
If the awareness is high and a lot of people come out to do DNA test, it would have been useful in drawing a conclusion. But for now, the percentage of people that have done DNA test compared to the population of the country is still very low. We can’t judge now.
Have you ever had the experience of somebody who all his children failed the DNA test?
No, I have not.
Which one have you had?
A case of one out of three children failing the paternity test.
Have you ever had a case of having to console your client when one of his children failed the DNA test?
No. You know men are the ones usually involved in the case of paternity test and they usually take heart after discovering that they are not the real father.
What does the process of doing DNA test involve in your own centre?
We have two types of DNA. We have peace of mind and legal DNA.
Which one is peace of mind?
The peace of mind is the one you do just to know on your own. If you are talking of paternity test now you just want to know whether you are the father or not. In that case you can order for a kit. We will send a kit to you. The instruction is on the kit on how to collect the sample. After collecting the sample you can send it back to us.
What exactly do you collect for your sample, is it the blood?
No, we use buccal smear. It is just swapping of the mouth. What we are talking are the cells of the mouth.. The DNA is more concentrated on the cells that are in the mouth. So, we take the cells of the mouth with the swop and we allow it to dry before we now package it.
I suppose you take the sample abroad too?
Yes, we have a parent company in UK, EasyDNA UK. We are the representative in Nigeria. There is no DNA laboratory in Nigeria. So, we collect the sample here and send it to our UK office for the testing.
How many days for the result to come out?
Five to six days.
What is legal DNA all about?
The legal DNA has to do with people that take their children abroad. They will bring a letter of Immigration DNA. That one is going to involve the court. There must be a legal document backing it up.
In that case, the client has to come to our office. He will come with an identity like international passport. Then three passport photographs each of the people that we are taking their samples. We are going to look at the passport photographs and international passport and look at the person that we are collecting samples from to make sure he is actually the person. Then we take their pictures in this office and send everything down with the samples to our head office in UK.
After the results come from the lab, then we will take it to the court for proper legal documentation.
In the case of peace of mind, the result does not come with a legal document.
How much does it cost to do DNA test in your own laboratory?
Do you pay in dollars or naira?
We collect it in naira based on existing exchange rate.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Olasunde Christopher Adebowale. I am a medical laboratory scientist.
Which institution did you do this?
I finished from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
What year was that?
How old are you?