By Ayo Akinfe
 We talk a lot about natural resources in Nigeria but sometimes we actually forget about our most important asset, which is human resources. Do you know that there are more twins in Nigeria than in any other nation on earth?
 For instance, according to a study conducted by a British gynaecologist, Patrick Nylander, between 1972 and 1982 an average of 45 to 50 sets of twins per 1000 live births were delivered in southwest Nigeria. Igbo-Ora town in Oyo State has the highest number of twins anywhere on earth. It should be the centre of excellence where research into the phenomenon is conducted. Why do we not have the world’s leading twins research centre in Igbo-Ora?
 Preliminary research into multiple births carried out at Lagos’s University Teaching Hospital has suggested that the high level of a chemical found in Yoruba women and the peelings of cassava could account for the multiple births. We need to back this up with firm evidence though
 What I find fascinating about this research is that this trend appears to be repeated among the Yoruba of the neighbouring Republic of Benin. Statistics reveal that Benin Republic has the highest national twinning rate of 27 sets of twins per 1,000 births compared with Nigeria’s rate of 19 sets of twins per 1,000 births. However, because of our massive population, we have a lot more twins in total than them
 When you look at the figures from other countries, you will notice that we are actually sitting on a gold mine here and should find a way to tap into it. In England and Wales for instance, the birth rate of twins was 16.1 in 2011, while in the US, it is 16.9, in France it is 17.4 and in Germany 17.2 per 1,000 births
 Now, let us look at this resource we are sitting on and find a way to harness it. Everywhere in the world, it is people who suffer from ailments that volunteer for medical research and new drug trials. How many Nigerian twins are prepared to volunteer for research into their unique history and development?
 If for instance a country is under-populated and wants to double its population within 10 years, the way to do it is to step up the birth of twins. Nigeria should be the place you come to for scientific and medical details on how to do this
 IVF is now big business. If you are a middle aged couple who may only give birth once, you may want twins to get it over and done with in one go. Nigeria should be the global centre of IVF medical research into twins
 Even countries looking to control their population will find having twins handy. If two parents have a set of twins, it is one child replacing each person, so at least that offers you population stability. If every Nigerian couple has twins, our population will stop growing. As you can see, there are economic advantages to conducting research into this matter, so I think we should set ourselves the target of opening the world’s leading twins research centre by say 2030
 Let us open the Taiye & Kehinde Medical Research Laboratory and Clinical Centre in Igbo-Ora. I am going to now throw down the challenge to all my twin friends and ask them to take the lead in this matter. People like me should not be crying more than the bereaved, so they should be the ones presenting policy proposals to the government.